Broadband modems: don’t believe the hype?

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Until now, but for restricted success in the business sector, it has been an untapped sector. Now, suddenly, the networks – 3, Vodafone and T-Mobile, anyway – appear to be in land-grab mode. And their weapon of choice in early 2008 is the USB broadband modem.

3 is understood to be targeting 500,000 mobile broadband subscribers this year through sales of its USB mobile broadband modem. 3 would not comment on figures, but a spokesperson said: “We see mobile broadband as one of the core areas of our business this year.”

It recently joined with Carphone Warehouse to offer customers a ‘free’ Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop on a specially-created 3 ‘Turbo’ tariff – £35 a month for 18 months, enabling 3GB of bundled data, 200 text messages, USB modem and a new laptop.

Like 3, T-Mobile has no fixed line service to speak of and is betting all its chips on its mobile broadband propositions, both handheld and desktop. The pair have agreed a network share that will see 3G coverage bolstered for both and savings on infrastructure costs.

“There are more than 12 million laptop users in the UK and the number is rising continually; seven million more laptops are expected to be sold this year. Mobile broadband really started to take off in 2007 and we’ll quadruple our growth again in 2008,” said a T-Mobile spokesman."

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