Mobile broadband subscriptions will double this year having breached the half-billion mark in 2010, Ericsson estimates. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to lead the way with some 400 million subscriptions by year-end 2011 followed by North America and Western Europe, each with more than 200 million. Ericsson is forecasting that the total will surpass 3.8 billion by 2015. Some even argue that total mobile broadband connections will surpass total wired broadband connections this year.

The proliferation of more bandwidth-intensive mobile devices–smartphones, tablets, netbooks, etc.–along with accelerating network infrastructure build-outs will drive subscription levels to new heights. Worldwide mobile data traffic tripled between August 2009 and August 2010, Ericsson notes.

Last year was a good year for LTE, according to Ericsson: 11 mobile network operators have signed commercial LTE core and/or access contracts with the company. Nearly half of a total 16 LTE networks it has delivered to date are up and running commercially.

More types of mobile broadband devices and greater network access is spurring users’ to consume more online TV, as well as Web surf. Some 23% now watch online TV and more than 46% surf the Web frequently, according to a TeliaSonera survey of LTE users, Ericsson notes.

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