Research firm Strategic Analytics in its report "Global Broadband Forecast: 2H’2011" says that by the end of this year, 6.05 million US households will depend on a wireless or mobile platform (including 3G or 4G) as their only means of accessing the Internet.
These comprise 6.9% of total US broadband connections, a net increase of 4,30,000 over 2010 levels. These "Mobile-Only" customers connect to broadband only through 3G or 4G-enabled smartphones or PC dongles and are not willing to use a wired broadband service such as cable, DSL or fibre at all, according to Strategy Analytics.
Currently, over 50% of US household broadband connections are via Cable Modem and it is only expected to increase slightly over the next five years. However, the decline of telco-provided Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscriptions is making way for fibre and Mobile-Only connections.
Though mobile network capacity and traffic are poised to explode in the near future, the research firm does not foresee 4G will take over as a primary access medium in the home, at least not yet.
Strategy Analytics director of the Service Provider Strategies program, Ben Piper, said he sees two parallel markets for "Mobile Only" in the US: users in remote or underserved areas where dependable fixed broadband is unavailable, and cost-conscious casual users, who are unlikely to exceed imposed data caps, and for whom mobile data rates are ‘good enough’.