Forecast: Global mobile broadband, 2012-2017

1Executive Summary

PLEASE NOTE: In order to make the pdf version available, we had to break the original report “Forecast: Global mobile operating systems and broadband, 2012-2017” into two sections. The mobile OS forecast is here. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Smartphone adoption worldwide is creating more and more demand for mobile bandwidth, but it won’t be a mobile broadband-majority world until 2016. While 75 percent of global smartphone subscriptions used only 2G connections in 2012, that figure will decline to 28 percent by 2017. By then, 3G will make up 55 percent of smartphone subscriptions and 4G 18 percent.

  • The U.S. is the leader in 4G adoption, with 17-percent penetration in 2012 growing to 68 percent in 2017. Western Europe is a laggard in LTE, and spectrum fragmentation that limits roaming capabilities will continue to hamper growth. Still, 4G penetration will cross the 40-percent mark by 2016.
  • China Mobile’s commitment to homegrown 3G and 4G technology has limited broadband growth, but China’s 2012 4G penetration will only reach 18 percent by 2017. Japan, which has the highest current 3G-penetration rate (86 percent), is not migrating to 4G as fast as the U.S. or South Korea due to lower operator subsidies. However, beginning in 2014-2015, Japan will cross over to 4G rapidly.

This report is built off the core global mobile subscribers and handsets forecast model.

Source: flickr user Alan Levine

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