By: MarkJ - 6 January, 2010 (2:00 AM)
mobile broadbandTariff Consultancy has released a new report into the pricing, trends and products offered by Pre Pay (Pay-As-You-Go) Mobile Broadband services. It reveals that Pre Pay Mobile Broadband will become the norm for the majority of users to access the Internet worldwide, with a third of a Billion users by the end of 2013.

Presently some 300 network operators around the world are offering 3G HSPA based Pre Pay Mobile Broadband services, which can deliver download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps. The most prolific users can be found in the Asia Pacific, with subscriber numbers expected to soar 10 fold over the 3 year period to 160 million and the Americas region seeing a growth rate of almost 7 times.

Many Mobile Broadband providers are following a range of strategies. In a lot of countries providers are charging a premium for mobile Internet connectivity with a relatively small data allowance. But in others, such as some operators in the UK, Pre Pay Mobile Broadband providers offer high data allowances with a low cost per GB which are on a par with fixed-line broadband services.

Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy, said:

"Data allowances are increasing and are buoyed by the introduction of a large number of data bundles which are becoming more complex. For example both Optus in Australia, Reliance in India and Telkomsel in Indonesia are offering at least 8 different bundles with data allowances available of up to 8 GB.

Although some operators continue to price their Pre Pay Mobile Broadband product at a premium, a large number of Pre Pay Mobile Broadband providers are in fact positioning their service to replace fixed-line services."

Daily Pre Pay rates are provided at an average of 3.4 Euros in the EMEA region, with a spread of pricing from 9 Euro to 1 Euro. Weekly rates in the region cost an average of almost 8.9 Euros. The most popular tariff worldwide is a flat rate bundle of Hours or unmetered usage allowance.

The idea of Mobile Broadband replacing fixed-line in the UK is not impossible but it won't be happening anytime soon, at least not until the capacity vs revenue issue is resolved and we have LTE technology in place. At present UK services do not make much revenue and data usage risks outstripping the available capacity. For many operators this is already resulting in slow speeds and connectivity problems.

However we do like the definition of Mobile Broadband used by Tariff Consultancy, which is described as - "being PC based internet connectivity usually using a USB flash modem which is capable of supporting download speeds of up to 384 KB and beyond." We think they mean 'Kb' there and not 'KB' glee .
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