Mobile broadband eats into total connections

Belgium, Greece and Slovenia are Europe’s laggards in terms of HSPA/LTE connections, with barely 4% of citizens connected to the mobile broadband technologies at the end of 2011.
Research firm Berg Insight reveals the figures in a new report analyzing the penetration of mobile broadband connections in the region. The firm claims Austria and Sweden lead the way with rates of around 20%, and that Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Finland all occupy the middle ground, with penetration rates of around 13%.
The difference in penetration rates appears to be due to varying prices throughout the region, with Berg noting the lowest prices are available in Baltic countries, Poland and Austria, where the average price is between €8 and €10 per month for a 3-GB plan with a minimum data rate of 7.2-Mbps. That compares to Switzerland, the region’s most expensive market, where some operators are charging €39 per month for a comparable bundle.
Berg telecom analyst, Lars Kurkinen, notes prices in 2012 aren’t falling as much as they have in previous years, with a typical decline of 7% in 2012 compared to an “average year-on-year decline of 20%,” in prior years.
Regardless of the price, HSPA and LTE are having a notable impact on the wider broadband market. Berg states some 38 million subscribers were signed up to mobile broadband in 2011 – equivalent to 21.8% of total connections -, and predicts mobile broadband customer numbers will grow at a CAGR of 10.7% through 2017 to hit 70 million subscribers.
The firm’s research also reveals that Huawei is the world leader in terms of mobile broadband terminal supplies, with a 54% share in 2011, followed by ZTE on 34%, based on total shipments of 102.5 million units.
However, the firm predicts global shipments will fall 24% year-on-year in 2012, with USB data sticks tipped to bear the brunt of the decline with a 30% fall in shipments to 60 million units. Mobile hotspots, though, are tipped to grow 15% year-on-year to 12 million units.