The research arm of the GSM Association released some fresh data on worldwide usage today, and of the the numbers are very interesting. The new report from Wireless Intelligence claims there are now 1.6 billion 3G and 4G connections in the world, and those mobile broadband connections account for about half of all mobile connections in the U.S. and Europe.
The flip side, of course, is how much room for growth still exists in other markets, particularly the huge emerging markets that hold so much promise. One recent United Nations report indicates there are about 6 billion mobile phone users worldwide, which means only about one-fourth of all users enjoy 3G or 4G connectivity. And the Wireless Intelligence document claims that only 18 percent of connections in all of Asia — all of Asia! — are 3G or 4G.
There’s a clear correlation between the speed of mobile networks and the amount of data users consume, as we’ve seen in the U.S. during the evolution from 2G to 3G to LTE, WiMAX and HSPA+. So we’re sure to see big increases in data consumption as mobile broadband connectivity increasingly comes online in vital markets like China, India, and many other regions.