The Asia-Pacific's 3G subscriber base is expected to top 564 million by 2013, according to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan. This accounts for about 18.2 percent of all mobile users.
The region was home to an estimated 158.4 million 3G subscribers last year and some 121 million the year before.
With 3G subscriber net additions in record numbers year-on-year, mobile operators are eager to monetise 3G external broadband devices, namely dongles and data cards, to complement their mobile broadband offerings.
3G dongle services have thus far seen promising uptake. "Dongles and data cards are increasingly a preferred connectivity device of choice for Asia-Pacific's broadband subscribers given the slim form-factor of the devices, faster 3G speeds and competitive service plans available," said Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Marc Einstein.
He reckons that by 2013, more than one in every three new broadband subscriber will use dongles or data cards for their [mobile] broadband needs, giving fixed broadband players a run for their money.
There were an estimated 5.2 million mobile broadband dongle and data card users in the Asia Pacific (18 countries) in 2008, with corresponding billings of more than US$1.3 billion, according to the analyst firm.
With the continuous roll-out of new 3G networks and 3.5G/4G upgrades across the region, Frost & Sullivan believes there will be nearly 37 million 3G subscribers using external wireless devices for their mobile broadband needs by year-end 2013, with estimated billable revenues of US$7.8 billion.