The US isn’t exactly the poster-child for advanced wireless networks. But, us Yanks have come a long way in the past few years. US wireless carriers are catching up fast, with plans from multiple carriers to launch 4G LTE networks in 2010. Smartphones like the iPhone and BlackBerry are driving demand for higher-speed wireless data services. In fact, things are expected to keep getting better. A new study from Telegeography predicts that the US will de-throne Japan as the world’s largest 3G network – by the year 2011, the US should have more 3G subscribers than Japan.
The sheer number of Americans will help make the US the world’s largest 3G market by 2011. The iPhone and BlackBerry have popularized the smartphone in the US, which helps drive 3G adoption. But, there is still the vast majority of Americans that have yet to jump on board the 3G bandwagon. It’s this demographic that will make the US the market-leader in 2011. But, that throne will belong to China by 2013. With more wireless subscribers than than there are people in the US, China is poised to become the world’s largest 3G market in 2013.
As the US gets real with 4G LTE networks, the push for 3G may increase. It remains to be seen how carriers will deal with the influx of mass-market 3G adopters pulling down ever more data on their aging 3G networks. Without any expansion in 3G network capacity, we’d wager the experience won’t be optimal.