It is expected that by 2015 1.4 billion people around the world will have access to both fixed and mobile broadband, as usage of both services grows and subsequently converge.
According to reports from telecoms analysts Ovum the total number of broadband users across the globe will reach 50 percent, or 3.6 billion people, with a large proportion of these being ‘dual access subscribers’.
According to Michael Philpot, Ovum analyst, the increase in access is symptomatic of how vital high speed internet access is becoming, with broadband now as important as other essential utilities such as gas, water and electricity he says
“In the developed world it has become a basic requirement and penetration is above 60 per cent of households in many markets,” he added.
It is thought that with the expected increase in high speed mobile internet access, there will be increased convergence between the fixed and mobile modes of connection with 38 percent of the overall global population having dual access in 2015
Although it is not expected that emerging markets will see anywhere near the amount of fixed/mobile convergence in 2015, Ovum expects that operators will certainly aim to offer services in less developed markets, particularly in rapidly growing urban areas where there is a large number of high value customers.
Operators will be likely to market fixed/mobile broadband bundles that will bring added value to FMC customers and additional revenues to service providers.
There is also an expectation that mobile broadband will in some areas replace fixed line broadband, with an estimated one billion to utilise it as their sole form of internet access either through a smallscreen mobile handset or through a big-screen device such as a laptop, netbook, or tablet, equating to 28 percent of all users or 13 percent of world population.
Emerging markets will see increases in mobile-only broadband, with an expectation for the Eastern Europe region to become 38 percent mobile only, Central America 35 percent, and Asia Pacific 34 percent.
Such a move to mobile-only access is only likely to be viable in areas where specific conditions are in place that offer greater potential for operators, such as no pre-existing fixed line infrastructure and availability of low cost mobile devices.
As for developed markets, it is thought that low-end users may offer some potential, but segmenting these customers will be extremely important.