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By: MarkJ - 3 November, 2009 (12:23 PM)
The latest 'Taking Internet Mobile' report from mobileSQUARED has estimated that Mobile Broadband connections in the UK will exceed fixed-line broadband connections in 2011. However this is based on research that lumps all 3G connected devices into the same bag, which is misleading. Consumer Mobile Broadband services are often significantly different from 3G based mobile phone contracts.

To elaborate, the report finds that - by 2011 - the number of active 3G devices in the UK will be 36.3 million, as well as 6.4 million dongles/embedded devices, taking the total number of Mobile Broadband connections to 42.7 million versus expected broadband Internet users of 42.5 million.

Happily the report does acknowledge that not all of the 3G connections in 2011 will be used for surfing. It forecasts that the number of mobile Internet users will top 32 million by 2014 (90% of 3G subscribers). Interestingly the report suggests that this figure would be arrived at sooner if operators had clearer and more flexible pricing.

Nick Lane, chief analyst at mobileSQUARED, said:

“Data pricing in the UK is still confusing. Mobile operators and high-street retailers produce monthly magazines dedicated to handsets and tariffs, how can that not be confusing to the consumer?

The number of mobile internet users would expand even faster if mobile data pricing reflected existing models, such as variable pricing to appeal to the different demographics. The cash-poor, time-rich youth democratic cannot afford the flat-rata plans, so why not offer a data pricing concession to encourage adoption?”

This is another example of how true Mobile Broadband connections differ from their 3G phone based counterparts. Mobile phone tariff's remain overly complicated and confusing, while most Mobile Broadband based USB Modem packages include relatively clear and simple usage allowances / costing.
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