8/6/2008 5:15:00 PM
Mobile broadband is headed for a boom
There are a lot of exciting trends going on at the moment, not least USB modems. Customers are saying they like the freedom it gives them, and they like being able to access the internet wherever they want.
I think we are about to hit a big boom period for laptops and mobile broadband. Mobile broadband has reached a tipping point and is now hitting the mainstream. We are looking to continue to target the mass market and expect to quadruple our user base this year, with one in four new customers currently signing up for a mobile broadband package.
To increase the take-up of mobile broadband we have been focusing on trying to understand how customers view this kind of service. There are still a lot of customers out there who are not so familiar with mobile broadband and we are working to make it easier for them to take it up with pricing points they can afford.
The recent price drops reflect that a service, which was initially popular with business users, is moving into the mass market.
But it’s not just about getting the price right; the customer experience is also important. The connection needs to be fast enough to surf and download effectively.
I believe that USB modems will have a good future even with the threat of embedded Sims, as USB modems are easy for people to understand. If you have a PC or laptop, it is easy to get your head around sticking a dongle in to give you broadband.
Laptops continue to take over from desktop computers. A key gift idea this Christmas will be laptops, with mobile broadband fitting really well with laptop sales. If you want a laptop so you can be mobile, mobile broadband is exactly what you need.
Consumers are used to taking their laptops out and about with them and they expect to be connected – whether that’s in the garden, at the office or in the park.
What’s driving the market is quite interesting to watch. There is a group of customers buying mobile broadband in addition to their fixed line at home.
For some customers, mobile broadband successfully fulfils all their needs. The common ground is that everyone at some point needs internet mobility on the go.
We have recently made a series of announcements on the mobile broadband front. The change to a HSUPA network means that we have the first nationwide upload network.
This fits with feedback from our customers, which shows social networking is on the rise and more people want to share their pictures and videos with friends. They want to be able to update their social networks on the move.
We have also dropped the price of roaming, as more and more people are entering the mobile broadband market. It is important that they can use it abroad and they should get a fair price when they do. And we want to avoid our customers experiencing ‘bill shock’ from using data services abroad. We were the first operator to introduce fixed costs for internet on the move and we are absolutely focused on driving the market forward.
Richard Warmsley is head of internet and entertainment at T-Mobile