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EU Mobile Data/Broadband Services Grew by 40% in 2007
By: MarkJ - 12 June, 2008 (1:51 PM)

European Mobile Data services, spurred on by a boom in affordable 'Mobile Broadband' products, grew by 40% last year to be worth 7bn Euros. The GSM Association (GSMA) research notes that operators have also spent 20bn Euros enhancing their mobile networks and services.

In the year to April 2008, the number of 3G users in the EU doubled to 112m. Europe has adopted 3G faster than any other region of the world. The proportion of people in the EEA/EU27 using 3G is 22.5% compared with 18.4% in the North America and 3.7% in the Asia-Pacific region:

"Competition, including from Wi-Fi, is delivering dramatic reductions in the retail price of data services, which give mobile users the convenience of being able to access email, the Internet and other multimedia services wherever they travel within Europe," said Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. "We expect prices to continue to fall as operators further innovate around tariffs and more and more Europeans use these services as a part of their everyday lives.

The cost of 3G services, 3G handsets, 3G-enabled laptops and dongles that enable laptops to connect to mobile broadband networks is falling steadily. In some European markets, mobile broadband services are now priced lower than comparable fixed-line broadband services. For example, mobile data services are available in the U.K. for as little as 10 (13 Euros) a month and in Austria for 10 Euros a month.

Moreover, the average retail price of data roaming, which enable travellers to access multimedia services using a mobile phone or laptop, fell by 25% in the year to April 2008 in the EU and that EU data roaming traffic grew 75% over the same period.

We can't help but wonder how much longer the remaining and more expensive Wi-Fi Hotspot services will survive in a market where 'Mobile Broadband' is suddenly becoming far cheaper.

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