The take up of 3.5G mobile broadband is expected to explode, industry analysts have predicted. The number of subscribers worldwide is expected to increase from 2.5 million in 2006 to more than 300 million in 2011. However, market growth in 2006-07 will be restrained by a lack of compelling devices, but this is not expected to last beyond 2007.

It is expected that handsets will start to mature in 2008, leading to a sharp increase in 3.5G handset sales and subscribers in the following year. Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and co-author of the Future Mobile Broadband Strategic Report notes that most HSDPA services are launching with only PC cards and notebooks, although a number of early handsets are also arriving. He also notes that as of June no major vendor has unveiled plans for EV-DO Rev. A.

"Mobile WiMax will play a relatively minor role in the mobile broadband market through 2011, largely because mobile WiMax notebooks and tablets will not arrive in volume until 2008-09, and compelling mobile WiMax handsets won't arrive until 2010," said report co-author Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

"By comparison HSDPA notebooks and handsets are already shipping, which means that the HSDPA device market is one to two years ahead of the mobile WiMax device market."