The impact of netbooks and laptops on the growth of mobile data traffic has been significant, but a new study claims that, by 2017, there will be 418 million users worldwide using these portable devices generating 1.8 exabytes of traffic per month--a forty-fold increase over 2009.
According to the research, conducted by Coda Research Consultancy, mobile broadband revenues of nearly US$50 billion will come from netbook/laptop users by 2017, with the Asia-Pacific region having 162 million users, Europe 94 million and North America 58 million.
Of note is the estimated impact that LTE will have, with half of all mobile broadband via netbook and laptop users using LTE worldwide in 2017. LTE users will hit 38 million in 2013 after a ramp up in LTE production in 2012, and will rise to 209 million by 2017, a 1100 per cent increase over 2012.
According to Steve Smith, of Coda Research, "LTE take up will be greatly skewed toward European and North American markets in the short to medium term, where ARPU will be highest. However, we will also see significant take up in China, and we may also see countries like India bypass 3G altogether, and move straight to LTE."
However, Smith warns that, while there are tremendous opportunities for both operators and device and component vendors, the risks are significant. "With enormous growth in traffic and considerable decline in ARPU, operators will need to be ruthlessly efficient. Asia Pacific is going to be the hotbed for growth, but it is a complex picture of emerging markets, developed markets and even markets that will leapfrog 3G altogether. LTE is going to be an important cushion for operators, but our research shows they will need to take into account the very different factors impacting 3G and 3G+ growth across regions and decide carefully how, when and where to market LTE."
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Click here to see data from the report
Check out the Coda Research press release
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