Infonetics chartDriven by users in Brazil, India and Russia, the number of worldwide mobile broadband subscribers increased by 50 percent last year, according to a research firm.

Infonetics Research’s latest report said the total number of mobile broadband subscribers reached 846 million last year. Stephane Teral, Infonetics’ principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, said he expects the number of subscribers to increase to 2.6 billion by 2016.

"We anticipate Asia Pacific to account for more than half of the world's mobile broadband subscribers by 2016, while Latin America will see the fastest growth,” Teral said.

Highlights from the fixed and mobile subscriber report included:

  • Total mobile subscribers – including GSM, W-CDMA, LTE, TD-CDMA, cdmaOne and CDMA2000 – are forecast by Infonetics to pass the 6 billion mark this year, and to approach 7 billion by 2016.
  • In some countries, the number of mobile subscribers already surpassed the population, such as in Finland, where many people have both personal and work phones.
  • Infonetics expects more than 200 million traditional voice access lines to get dropped over the next five years as people continue to “cut the cord.”
  • China Mobile, Vodafone and América Móvil are the world's top mobile operators by number of subscribers.
  • The number of LTE subscribers is forecast by Infonetics to be around 450 million by 2016.
  • Despite some subscriber migration to TD-LTE, WiMAX subscribers are expected to grow at a 35 percent compound annual growth rate through 2016, when they will top 132 million.
  • DSL continues to grow despite competition from cable, FTTH and LTE, with DSL subscribers accounting for more than two-thirds of all wireline broadband subscriptions last year.