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Global HSPA Mobile Broadband Connections Have Surpassed 400 Million

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There are now over 400 million mobile broadband subscribers using HSPA networks, according to figures released by the GSM Association. In addition, there are now more than 17 million HSPA connections being added each month around the world, compared to nearly 9 million a month in the same period last year.

LTE is also expected to experience rapid growth over the next few years, rising from 4.2 million connections in 24 countries by the end of this year, to almost 300 million connections in 55 countries by 2015.

"Over the past 12 months operators around the world have invested more than $70 billion in Mobile Broadband infrastructure and network upgrades, driving strong momentum for HSPA and paving the way for LTE to gain real traction," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA. "HSPA has achieved great success since it was first deployed in 2005, and to date is the fastest-growing wireless technology ever. 2011 is also set to be the tipping point for LTE, with network deployments in 24 countries and the commercial availability of the first LTE-based smartphones and tablets driving more than four million connections."

As operators wait for the radio spectrum for LTE to be released, many will continue to use HSPA as their primary Mobile Broadband technology.

More than 2,900 devices from 200 suppliers support HSPA and there are now 341 live HSPA networks across 132 countries worldwide. Moreover, HSPA can be upgraded to HSPA+, enabling peak speeds of between 21Mbps and 42Mbps. With additional spectrum, HSPA+ can even reach peak speeds of 84Mbps. There are currently 76 HSPA+ networks deployed in 43 countries with a further 52 networks planned worldwide, according to Wireless Intelligence.

The industry research firm also predicts that LTE is likely to experience its most rapid growth from 2012, when the majority of operators launch their networks and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) becomes available.

"A tremendous amount of work by Verizon and its partners resulted in the first successful VoLTE call over a commercial network last week," said Tony Melone, chief technology officer at Verizon. "This momentum accelerates this week with the GSMA, as we continue down the path of giving customers the best calling experience and making VoLTE the standard for voice over LTE and a commercial reality next year."

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Tags: hspa  hspa+  gsma  mobile broadband  volte