According to a new study by IHS iSuppli, the booming sales of tablets in 2011 will help drive a sizzling 57.8% increase in shipments of mobile broadband devices that provide high-speed wireless connectivity. Shipments of mobile broadband devices in 2011 are projected to climb to 157.9 million units, up from 100.1 million units in 2010. Aside from tablets, the mobile broadband segment includes devices such as notebook and netbook computers, as well as e-book readers.
In 2009, the global mobile broadband shipment was about 60 million units. That will grow above 150 million units this year, from 100 million units last year. It is projected to hit about 350 million units in 2015 as shown in the plot above.
The excitement surrounding tablets is primarily due to the virtually unlimited range of value-added services and applications that may be delivered through tablets because of their wireless networking capability. Whether tablets have built-in Wi-Fi or come with embedded 3G/4G chips, the wireless function of tablets enables them to transcend just merely being another cool gadget into a virtual storefront, with the potential to generate revenue for any number of downstream businesses and industries.
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By 2015, the majority of mobile broadband devices will utilize the 4G wireless standard known as long term evolution (LTE), in line with consumer demand for faster speeds and, perhaps more important, lower latencies or delays from their mobile broadband networks.
The report continues that growth in mobile broadband devices will drive an explosive increase in mobile data traffic, causing carriers to rapidly rethink their strategies for network and service deployments as well as data monetization. And as new players target the mobile device market, existing players at every node of the communication value chain will need to continually evolve their business strategies. Failure to do so in this dynamic market, with continually changing paradigms, will cause even well-established players to be relegated quickly to marginal roles, it concludes.