The UK is about to see rapid growth in mobile broadband services according to the latest research from YouGov and Point Topic.
Most (90%) of people who have broadband access at home already own a mobile phone and half of them use a laptop. Many of them already use the internet in one way or another while they are on the move.
Email tops the list of mobile internet usage (more than one third, 38% of respondents already use it and another 37% would like to), closely followed by browsing the internet (three out of ten already do, another third would like to) and accessing travel information (28% and 39% respectively).
So while there aren’t as many people left to sell handsets and contracts to, there are increasing numbers who want to have their online lives at their fingertips wherever they are and many already have the necessary equipment.
Plus they are prepared to pay for it. Half of respondents interested in online services would pay £15 per month, but it’s not enough for the operators. Currently an average movie file can cost up to £300 to download on a mobile device and a single music track can be as much as £14 if it’s not part of your monthly data download allowance.
Unsurprisingly almost four out of ten (37%) of respondents cite the cost of sending and receiving data as the biggest disadvantage of mobile broadband today, three out of ten say it is the cost of the devices and 28% say it is the cost of accessing useful data. Security, by comparison, one of the biggest concerns for fixed line users, scores less than 2% on this scale!
Plainly there is some way to go before the desires of the users meet the business models of the providers, particularly when voice traffic continues to provide much higher revenue/bit than data, and while operators are still trying to justify spending £22bn on 3G mobile broadband licenses. But there’s a large and willing market just waiting for the right deals to come along.
In more bad news, at least for their fellow passengers, almost half of mobile internet users said they preferred to use the services when on public transport…still at least they will be paying through the nose for it.