Industry analyst Ovum predicts that by 2015, the Asia-Pacific mobile broadband market will reach an astounding $108 billion, thanks to the rapid the feverish uptake of smartphones.

However, Ovum also found that revenue growth is not keeping pace with connections, highlighting the need for service providers to develop improved monetisation strategies.

Ovum reckons that revenues from the APAC mobile broadband market will more than double from $43 billion in 2010 to $108 billion in 2015, meaning a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, AP mobile broadband connections will grow at a CAGR of 35 per cent, reaching 1.5 billion in 2015 from 333 million in 2010. Of those 1.5 billion connections, 80 per cent will use small-screen devices such as smartphones and feature phones.

Big-screen mobile broadband connections (laptops, netbooks and tablets) will grow at a CAGR of 41 per cent from 2010 to 2015. However, this segment will only have 310 million connections by 2015.

In terms of revenues, small-screen devices will also lead the way, reaching $57 billion in 2015. However, there will be a smaller gap between big-screen mobile broadband revenues, which will reach $51 billion. This reflects the premium that operators can charge for dedicated big-screen mobile broadband services as opposed to the bundles of minutes, messages and data seen in the small-screen segment.

“The market for mobile broadband on small-screen devices is eating away at the opportunity for growth in the big-screen market,” says Ovum principal analyst, Steven Hartley. “Consumers now expect to be able to access services such as Facebook on their mobile phone, which is why we will see handset connections far outstripping big-screen connections by 2015”.

“The picture in emerging markets is also a key factor,” he says. “Devices such as laptops are less affordable in these markets. However, low-end feature phones or smartphones are much more attainable, and many consumers will use these as their only form of Internet access, driving connections growth.

With Asia-Pacific mobile broadband connections growth forecast to outstrip mobile broadband revenue over the forecast period, Hartley says that service providers will need to develop strategies that meet the demand for mobile Internet access while managing costs and securing customer loyalty.