Every mobile and electronics high street store is shouting about mobile broadband.
Expect a laptop/dongle bundle under every tree this Christmas as sales skyrocket.
Network and manufacturer sources claim monthly sales of laptop/dongle bundles are 50,000-80,000 units. Carphone has taken six per cent of the laptop market, by offering entry-level ‘web-books’, in less than 12 months. That is some going.
All networks are offering USB mobile broadband dongles. Virgin Media and BT are the latest to enter the fray.
But 3 is, without question, leader of the pack for mobile broadband. It started the whole revolution, and now claims over 600,000 mobile broadband users since its launch this year. Again, some going.
Lower pricing, as well as bundling dongles with free laptop offers has helped the surge. It has made mobile working easier for suits on commuter trains, and suchlike; easier to write and respond to emails than on a smartphone.
And it had made mobile working affordable for students, really for the first time.
The speed of uptake of mobile broadband, compared with fixed line, is a trend telecom adviser Analysys Mason thinks will continue. It reckons 47 per cent of European broadband subscriptions will be mobile by 2013, and nearly a quarter of account holders will use mobile only solutions.
At the same time, online comparison site Broadband Expert says fixed line players are raising their games, and that fixed broadband data speeds are accelerating at a faster rate than misleading mobile broadband speeds.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has just rapped Vodafone for mis-leading mobile broadand advertising – 7.2Mbps is the exception, not the rule, and its claims of galactic lightspeeds were perceived by the ASA as stretching credibility.
In reality, users are lucky to get 2Mbps.
But mobile broadband has its place. It is a new market, rather than a replacement one for the time being. It opens up working methods, but fixed line broadband’s short-term future is assured.