2008 Year in Review: Mobile data uptake soars

It has been a year of significant momentum for the wireless broadband industry. Most impressive has been the wide-scale uptake of mobile data services thanks to faster data networks and 3G-enabled notebooks. And Web-friendly smart phones are turning many mobile customers into prodigious consumers of wireless data services. No more has this been true than with the advent of the Apple iPhone. M:Metrics reported this year iPhone users browse more, search more, watch more videos and access social networking sites more than the typical smartphone user.

Meanwhile, WiFi is making inroads in more handsets and devices, a significant move as WiFi is still faster and available in more places than 3G. Wayport already offers a service called Eye-Fi, which embeds WiFi within cameras for picture downloading, and a whole host of devices, such as gaming and PC tablets embedded with WiFi can offer operators new revenue opportunities.

WiMAX made its debut in Baltimore and in other markets powered by smaller broadband players, which should change the entire wireless broadband game in terms of pricing.

The future looks bright for wireless broadband as it looks to be a part of bridging the digital divide and as OFDMA-based networks such as WiMAX and LTE come to fruition. I can't wait to see what 2009 has in store. FierceBroadbandWireless will be taking a break during the holiday season. We'll be back on Jan. 5 with out our predictions for 2009.--Lynnette