Mobile broadband uptake soars
Even as some operators debate whether to raise mobile broadband prices to boost revenues, a new report has found that attractive service bundles are driving mobile broadband adoption.
One of the bedrocks of the mobile computing revolution, mobile broadband, according to the report by the Tariff Consultancy, is prospering due mainly to the growing number of flat-rate packages and the increasing value of the service offered.
Among the main findings from the survey of users in 33 European countries is the fast that mobile broadband flat rate bundles are now the norm across the continent and are the most common form of price package.
Pricing in 2008 has fallen by an average of 4% across all countries when compared with the previous year even though the average flat rate package bundle provided has doubled over the last 12 months to almost 4GB. Specifically for the UK, average mobile broadband prices have fallen by 35% in the last year.
The most common monthly user allowances on offer across Europe are 5GB and 10GB, closely followed by 1GB and 500MB allowances. Additionally, there are at least 20 mobile operators across all countries which are now offering an “unlimited” user allowance for their Mobile Broadband service
Four-fifths of mobile broadband operators in Europe charge on a per mega byte out of monthly allowance – for national traffic - with charges ranging up to 3.27 Euro per MB although typical rates are between 10 and 20 Euro cents.
Commenting on the research findings, Tariff Consultancy Ltd Managing Director Margrit Sessions said, “Although mobile broadband pricing has continued to decline overall, the most striking feature has been the continued increase in monthly user allowances which have more than doubled in the course of a year.”
Tariff Consultancy predicts that with more mobile operators deploying HSDPA networks, theoretically supporting download speeds of up to 7.2 mbs [Mbps], the increase in flat rate packages is likely to continue. Yet this will only take place if operators take steps to ensure that mobile computing users enjoy both value and quality services.
“Mobile operators have to ensure that they provision the network capacity to meet the demand that flat rate pricing will create and also safeguard against over-selling their service,” Sessions added.