There are about 2.5 million 3.5G broadband subscribers in the world right now, but that number will jump to over 300 million by 2011 according to a study by Informa Telecoms and Media. However, growth could come sooner and adoption more widespread if more handsets were available.
According to the study, the lack of suitable and compelling handsets caused the adoption of 3G technology to take longer than it could have, and the same problem exists for 3.5G. Informa expects that the current shortage of new technology will remain a problem at least until the end of next year.
HSDPA services are being used more by notebooks and PC cards than mobile handsets, though some early cell phones are on the market. There is even less available for CDMA: no maker has released an EV-DO Revision A handset as of yet.
Informa predicts that the handsets will arrive and the market will start to mature in 2008. That will allow subscriptions to jump that year or the next one, and by 2011 they expect 85% of 3.5G devices to be mobile handsets. Mobile WiMAX will be even slower, with handsets not arriving until 2010.