Mobile broadband set for growth explosion

As 3G speeds get faster, the need for alternative broadband technologies will diminish, according to Berg Insight

Mobile broadband is getting increasingly popular. By the end of the year, 5 million Europeans will be connected to a mobile broadband plan, according to analyst firm Berg Insight .

High-speed 3G use, or HSDPA, is growing fastest in Austria and Sweden. Overall, Europe will have 30 million broadband connections by 2011, Berg Insight predicted in its European Mobile Broadband Market report .

HSDPA can deliver download speeds of up to 7Mbps. These speeds, along with falling prices for mobile internet access, are boosting the popularity of mobile broadband, Berg Insight said.

"Ordinary people have already replaced their old bulky desktop PC with a new, slim, widescreen notebook. Now, thanks to [HSDPA], they can also connect to the internet anywhere for just 20 euros (£13.50) per month," said senior analyst Tobias Ryberg in a statement .

HSDPA upgrade

When the next evolutionary HSDPA upgrade is introduced in 2009, 3G download speeds will increase to 28.8Mbps. The 3G evolution will further reduce the need for "alternative high-speed mobile broadband technologies," such as mobile WiMax, the firm said.

It predicted that mobile WiMax will have little impact on the European market during the coming five years due to issues with spectrum availability, and 3G becoming increasingly popular.

The European broadband market will be worth three billion euros (£2 billion) in five years' time, according to the report.