Research by Analysys Mason concluded that selling mobile – or celluar – broadband as an alternative to fixed broadband within Europe and the US was likely to fail because of a strong, and what it says is correct, perception among consumers that mobile broadband is slower, less reliable and more expensive than fixed broadband.
Meanwhile, an analysis of mobile connection methods tracked through Bango’s payment and analytics platform, showed a doubling in Wi-Fi use (which qualifies as fixed, not mobile) compared to this time in 2010 as users searched for faster connections backed by reliable costs.
Bango found that at the start of 2011 Wi-Fi accounted for over 50% of mobile user connections to the internet compared to 23% in February 2010. The company believes the growing consumption of streamed media is driving users to look for fast network connectivity from Wi-Fi, allied to greater certainty over data costs.
The increased adoption of smartphone devices and the popularity of tablets are among the factors behind the surge in Wi-Fi usage according to Bango CEO, Ray Anderson: “Popular content – including music, movies, books and news – is becoming more digital by the day and increasingly consumed on mobile devices.
”Our latest data shows that, where available, Wi-Fi is quickly becoming the mainstream method of connection to the internet. For the successful monetisation of mobile content, providers need to ensure they are providing a consistent payment experience for these users however they connect.”
Anderson’s take on payment mirrored the conclusions of Analysys Mason’s Tom Rebbeck, author of The Connected Consumer survey 2: mobile broadband report.
“To sell mobile broadband as a substitute for fixed broadband would mean cutting prices while providing a poorer service – something that is unlikely to be satisfactory in the long term”, said Rebbeck.
“About 13% of mobile broadband subscribers are already planning to drop the service. By comparison, less than 1% of subscribers intend to abandon their mobile voice service.”
He believes that western operators should instead position mobile broadband as a complement to fixed broadband, not a substitute,
“The positive message for service providers is that customers have realistic expectations for mobile broadband, and are not taking it to be a direct equivalent to fixed broadband.”
The Analysys Mason report fond that more than 70% of respondents who expressed an opinion agreed with statements that mobile broadband was slower, less reliable and more expensive than fixed broadband.
Customers are also becoming increasingly happy with their fixed broadband service. Of respondents who said they were not interested in mobile broadband, 72% said it was because they are happy with their fixed service (up from 65% last year).
Ruling out factors that might attract consumers who are not currently considering mobile broadband – price reductions and network improvements – as too costly to implement, Rebbeck said: “The solution is simply to focus on mobile broadband’s unique benefit in comparison with fixed broadband: the ability to connect to the Internet while on the move”.
“Our Connected Consumer survey found that mobility was the most important factor for those who are planning to take up or are considering a mobile broadband subscription. No other factor provides an easy method of selling the service.”
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