The drive to increase mobile data revenues is leading global operators to add a significant number of data devices in their product portfolios alongside traditional handsets, according to a new Wireless Intelligence study*.
The research tracks the diversification of operator device portfolios since the last study in February 2010, using a sample of almost 50 operators across both developed and developing mobile markets. It tracks the number of products on offer and the impact of new wireless technologies such as WCDMA, HSPA and LTE.
The results of the study reflect the ongoing migration from 2G to 3G network technologies. In particular, it identified a significant decline in the number of WCDMA-only devices in operator portfolios over the last two years as these were replaced by HSPA-enabled devices, reflecting the fact that HSPA now accounts for over three-quarters of 3G connections worldwide.
The research shows that almost all data devices (dongles, tablets, mobile hotspots, laptops) are now 3G compatible, with nine out of ten HSPA-enabled. Devices supporting LTE are also being seen in operator portfolios in increasing numbers.
Traditional handsets still make up the majority of operator device portfolios with the average number of models on offer by operators unchanged from two years ago at around 60, though many more of these are now 3G devices and/or smartphones. However, new types of data devices are being added to the mix.
Tablets, for example, now account for around 5 percent of device portfolios, despite being a category that was virtually non-existent when the study was last conducted.
Operator device portfolio, average segmentation
Source: Wireless Intelligence, April 2012
*: The new study — 3G technologies reshaping mobile device market — is now available for download.