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UK Braced For Rapid Mobile Broadband Growth

Posted: 22nd Jun, 2007 By: MarkJ
The latest research from YouGov and Point Topic predicts that the UK may be about to see a rapid growth in mobile (Vodafone, O2 etc.) broadband services.

Some 90% of people who have broadband access at home already own a mobile phone and half of them use a laptop, hence the market may be there, but is it affordable?:

Email tops the list of mobile internet usage (more than one third, 38% of respondents already use it and another 37% would like to), closely followed by browsing the internet (three out of ten already do, another third would like to) and accessing travel information (28% and 39% respectively).

So while there aren’t as many people left to sell handsets and contracts to, there are increasing numbers who want to have their online lives at their fingertips wherever they are and many already have the necessary equipment.

Plus they are prepared to pay for it. Half of respondents interested in online services would pay £15 per month, but it’s not enough for the operators. Currently an average movie file can cost up to £300 to download on a mobile device and a single music track can be as much as £14 if it’s not part of your monthly data download allowance.

Unsurprisingly almost four out of ten (37%) of respondents cite the cost of sending and receiving data as the biggest disadvantage of mobile broadband today, three out of ten say it is the cost of the devices and 28% say it is the cost of accessing useful data. Security, by comparison, one of the biggest concerns for fixed line users, scores less than 2% on this scale!

Clearly the market has a long way to go before mobile broadband services can be made attractive enough to tempt ordinary consumers away from their fixed-line counterparts.

Having said that, the raft of new mobile broadband packages coming on the market has signalled a change of tact by operators, with prices slowly being reduced to more affordable levels. Such services may not be perfect and are often highly restricted, yet it is a step forward.

Perhaps one day we’ll all be able to take our broadband connections with us no matter where in the world we go, although that day is still someway off.
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