OECD finds mobile broadband growth outstripping fixed-line services

Monday, June 27th 2011
The number of mobile broadband lines in OECD nations surpassed 500 million in 2010.
OECD finds mobile broadband growth outstripping fixed-line services
Mobile broadband services are growing at a faster rate than fixed-line solutions, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

New figures from the body showed there were over 500 million active mobile broadband lines at the end of 2010, representing an increase of more than ten per cent year on year.

Over the same time period, fixed subscriptions surpassed the 300 million mark for the first time, but the rate of growth fell to six per cent - the lowest figure since the OECD began measuring broadband uptake more than a decade ago.

Explaining the trend, the organisation said penetration and saturation levels are already high in some of the countries it tracks, with the Netherlands and Switzerland leading the way with 38.1 fixed broadband connections per 100 inhabitants.

In terms of mobile broadband subscriptions, the UK ranked in 19th out of the 34 OECD members after posting a total of 36.9 lines per 100 people. Of these, 29.1 were defined as "standard" mobile broadband connections, while 7.8 were dedicated mobile data solutions.

There were more than 22.6 million active broadband lines in the UK last December, the study added.

Commenting on the figures, the OECD said growth in the mobile broadband market had been driven by the prevalence of inexpensive, flat-rate data plans for dongles, smartphones and tablets.

"The communications sector ... has emerged from the financial crisis with a resilience and underlying strength that reflects its critical role in the global economy," the report stated.

Last August, ABI Research revealed some of the lowest prices for mobile broadband plans can be found in the UK, France and Indonesia.

At the time, the analyst claimed rising data usage would lead network operators to abandon proposals for unlimited tariffs due to the substantial strain this could place on their infrastructure.

"Operators will need to introduce innovative data pricing and manage their bandwidth in order to deliver an enjoyable user experience," ABI predicted.

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