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Is the mobile broadband party over?

25 декабря 2008

European mobile operators got a €2.2 billion revenue boost from dongles in 2008; revenue opportunity to rocket in 2009 for those that can address challenges.

It may be a cliché, but 2008 was the year of the dongle.

In Europe alone, mobile operators' stagnating annual revenues were boosted to the tune of €2.2 billion during the year, as the number of mobile broadband customers, that is users accessing the Internet via USB dongles, surged to 21 million from 8 million.

In a mobile market paralysed with fear over the likely impact of recession, mobile broadband represents a shining beacon of growth.

A further indicator of the seriousness with which mobile broadband is being taken – if one were needed – is the nature of the players getting involved in 2008.
MVNOs such as Virgin Mobile, who know a market opportunity when they see one, have clambered onto the bandwagon. Likewise Nokia, which in December announced the launch of a USB modem of its own.

Three key factors came together to create the perfect storm: user-friendly USB modems that are truly plug-and-play; HSDPA networks with up to 90% population coverage delivering (for many) download speeds good enough for their favourite applications; and customer-friendly pricing and packaging including affordable prepaid and flat-rate options.

However, after the party of 2008, we can expect reality to bite in 2009 as supply temporarily struggles to meet demand.

Many mobile network operators will find it difficult to cope with the hundreds of thousands of subscribers they signed up with gusto during 2008.

As a result they will face considerable pressure to upgrade networks to HSUPA, HSPA+ and – eventually – LTE, and to acquire additional spectrum, most notably at 2.6GHz. We expect the operators to make great strides in capacity upgrades during 2009.

Furthermore, the way that operators market mobile broadband will also need work in 2009.

Current pricing regimes, for the most part, are not sufficiently segmented to reflect the diverse use cases for mobile broadband. Mobile operators risk missed revenue opportunities and margin erosion if they persist with the one-size-fits-all marketing approach that dominated in 2008.

There is a continuing revenue bonanza on offer to operators that can address these two major challenges successfully. Annual revenue from mobile broadband revenue in Europe will grow to €10 billion in 2009 from €6 billion in 2008, accounting for around 5% of all mobile revenue.

Источник: Total Telecom

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