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China and India Gaining in Mobile Broadband Adoption

Worldwide mobile broadband-enabled network service subscriptions are mounting up, and will reach the one billion mark in 2011.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, at the end of 2010 there were more than five billion mobile subscriptions globally, with one in five of those having access to mobile broadband services.

Another 28 percent growth, or 6.6 billion wireless subscriptions, is expected by 2016, with 40 percent -- or twice the current percentage -- of users being mobile broadband-enabled.

Despite many markets having reached penetration saturation levels in excess of 100 percent, some mobile network operators still have a lot more growth to come.

"With the proliferation of mobile broadband, it has become increasingly common to have multiple mobile connections per user," said research associate Fei Feng Seet at ABI.

The main service subscriber motivation is the desire to stay connected everywhere, with more high speed 4G wireless networks lighting up, and a huge increase in the popularity of social connectivity.

Chinese and Indian operators are now the top five mobile network operators measured by subscriptions, putting Verizon Wireless in the U.S. into sixth place. As of the third quarter of 2010, China Mobile alone accounted for 11 percent of all global mobile subscriptions.

"China's and India's penetration levels are nowhere near the 100 percent mark, leaving much more room for growth than any other countries," notes ABI Research practice director Neil Strother.

In terms of subscriptions, worldwide mobile penetration now stands above 75 percent, of which the Asia-Pacific region already accounts for close to half the global total.

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