STOCKHOLM – Mobile broadband is a flying success, according to the GSM Association.

The group said this week that the worldwide number of mobile broadband subscribers using HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) has increased by 850 percent over the past year,

However, GSM carriers are also running the risk of becoming a victim of their own success.

HSPA is a member of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) family, and currently offers speeds ranging from 1.8M bps (bits per second) to 7.2M bps.

There are now more than 32 million HSPA connections worldwide, compared to 3 million a year ago. The number of networks currently supporting mobile broadband using HSPA is 166, in 73 countries. In May last year the number of networks was 73, according to the GSM Association

“Operators have found a brand new market, connecting laptops to the Internet,” said Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa Telecoms and Media.

The level of interest has even taken operators by surprise. “The growth has been bigger than we could ever have dreamed of,” said Nicholas H