There are now more than four billion mobile connections in the world, and this is set to reach six billion connections by 2013, according to the GSMA. The GSM Association  is a global trade association representing over 850 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries.

The GSMA said the growth is driven by two primary sources: the integration of mobile into previously unconnected devices and subscriber additions in emerging markets. With the world’s mobile connections now numbering four billion – nearly 100 million of which are mobile broadband – and with 1.1 billion fixed broadband lines reaching only one sixth of the world’s population, the opportunities are vast.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday 18 February, executives from the world’s leading mobile companies will unite at the ‘Mobile Broadband’ and ‘Mobile Internet’ sessions to explore mobile broadband uptake, how consumers are adapting to the technology, and how internet services become even more compelling when married with always-available mobile broadband. The conference, which features Kevin Spacey will also tackle the technical challenges of delivering mobile services and commercial elements influencing mobile industry and entertainment partner and collaboration. While the GSMA’s Mobile Planet initiatives leverage mobility to help improve the lives of individuals across the developing world in a socially responsible manner.

Commenting on these findings the CEO of 3, Robert Finnegan feels that the industry is set for a bright future even in these difficult times ‘Mobile communications liberate the user, make people more productive and save them time and money so even in a recession you will continue to see strong growth’.

3 is Ireland’s largest mobile broadband provider and recently won the Government contract for the National Broadband scheme. The National Broadband Scheme will deliver broadband services to consumers and businesses located within those parts of the country which have no form of broadband available at the moment and Finnegan believes it is an excellent technical solution to Irelands current broadband deficit ‘Our network technology is the best available and is industry leading technology which allows operators to offer high quality broadband services in a highly cost efficient way. We will be rolling out a first class broadband network bringing internet services to thousands of homes and businesses across the country. Over five years we’ll be investing 223 million euros and creating around 170 new jobs giving Ireland’s economy a welcome boost. There has never been a more important time for people to get connected as Ireland strives to sharpen its competitiveness.’

A recent study by Comreg revealed that the growth of the mobile communications and internet usage in Ireland. The study revealed that some 64pc of the Irish population are now online – the highest level to date – and 82pc of users access the internet from home, while 24pc of users also access it at work.