LIRNEasia’s preliminary round of mobile broadband quality testing in selected locations in Western Province unveils both hopes and issues. The good news is that the quality of both key pre-paid mobile broadband services is satisfactory, in majority of locations. However, unusual quality drops in several places indicates that this performance is not always a certainty. In general, a mobile broadband user in Western Province can expect a reasonable quality unless a rare issue like the distance from a tower or a higher number of simultaneous users hinders it. LIRNEasia tested the broadband quality of the popular pre-paid High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) broadband connections of the two key providers.
GSMA, the global trade body representing the mobile industry, called on Bangladesh to issue 3G licences soon to make broadband services more widely available. Licensing the 2100 MHz spectrum band for 3G services would enable Bangladeshi operators to launch mobile broadband services, which their customers can use to gain fast and easy access to the Internet and online services, it said on Wednesday. Bangladesh’s mobile sector has grown rapidly, with user numbers reaching more than 45 million at end-September from 200,000 in 2001, while the country has only 1.32 million fixed-line phones. “Laying new fixed-line connections is expensive and inefficient, so high-speed mobile networks are Bangladesh’s best bet to realise the many social and economic benefits that arise from widespread access to broadband services,” said Ricardo Tavares, senior vice president for public policy at the GSMA.
The number of subscribers to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) services – a technology that enables broadband access on mobile phones and other computing devices – will more than double next year in Asia, according to a forecast by telco industry group GSM Association (GSMA). In an interview with BizIT, Jaikishan Rajaraman, GSMA director of product and service development, said the number of users in Asia subscribing to HSPA will swell from 26.5 million to 53.5 million over the next 12 months. Fuelling this trend are soaring demand from both businesses and consumers, coupled with falling prices of mobile broadband services, he said.
Mobile broadband connections around the world have increased tenfold in the past year, with 32 million subscribers connected now, up from 3 million at the end of March 2007, according to the GSM Association. The Association, which represents operators of GSM and 3G networks, says providers across Europe, Asia and North America are all reporting huge increases in the uptake of High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), with the uptake said to have increased by 44 per cent in the past 10 months. It says the number of networks offering commercial mobile broadband services has risen sharply in the past year. Broadband on mobile phones is available in 73 countries from 166 operators, up from 96 networks commercially deployed in 3 countries. Meanwhile the Global mobile Suppliers Association, which represents the makers of infrastructure and end user equipment, said 637 HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) products have now launched, representing an annual growth of 150 percent.