India is set to topple the U.S. in Mobile Broadband connections by 2016. As per the GSMA (News - Alert), India expects 367 million Mobile Broadband connections within the next four years, beating the 337 million connections expected for the U.S. in the same period.
The country will, however, remain behind China, expected to record 639 million Mobile Broadband connections by 2016.
Mobile Broadband connectivity has grown progressively, since mobile operators in India were granted 3G licenses for the first time in September 2010. The number of HSPA connections nationwide is expected to grow by at least 900 percent from the current more than 10 million connections to nearly 100 million connections in 2014. In the span of two years, India may overtake China, Japan and the U.S. to become the largest HSPA market in the world.
"The mobile industry in India is set for immense growth as Mobile Broadband technologies such as HSPA and LTE (News - Alert) start to proliferate, but there is scope for far greater development,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. “To take full advantage of this, the Indian government should facilitate the timely release of additional spectrum in a fair and transparent way for all stakeholders. The benefits are clear to see – a 10 per cent increase in Mobile Broadband penetration could contribute as much as $80 billion of revenue across the country's transport, healthcare and education sectors by 2015."
The GSMA's Wireless Intelligence service had recently undertaken a study, showing mobile augmentation in India is chiefly due to the prosperous communities in cities. With a majority of rural population, India can still overcome the “digital divide” by offering Mobile Broadband in rural and remote areas.
"It is important that all citizens in India have access to high-speed Internet connectivity and the transformative opportunities it provides,” said Bouverot. “The current average cost of an LTE device is prohibitive for the uptake of Mobile Broadband for those on low incomes."