Latest figures from price comparison site Broadband Expert suggest the mobile broadband boom has ended with a 57% drop in numbers signing up in the last 12 months.
Broadband Expert’s own commercial director Rob Webber suggests the drop may be due to users thinking the technology is still not up to the job: “Mobile broadband experienced phenomenal growth in the UK as consumers expected all the benefits of a home broadband connection whilst on the move. Sadly the technology has not lived up to the hype; we receive a huge amount of feedback from customers complaining of inconsistent or non-existent connections and speeds comparable to dial-up or worse.”
Yet, perhaps the decline in sales sees a saturation in the marketplace. Broadband Expert’s own site was seeing 3,000 users sign-up via its site per month and with the increase in WiFi hotspots making it easier to connect on the move, plus the widespread take-up of smart-phones which adequately cover most email one the move uses, it may be that the slow-down is just down to the fact that those that want mobile broadband already have it and that also other options are filling the gap for those unsure.
Certainly, a quick poll amongst friends and family suggests that those that might need mobile broadband, already have it, and those that don’t have it don’t really think there is much benefit from it for them.
Across the country an increase in home-working using landline broadband connections and VPN means many employees are already connecting to work when not in the office without mobile broadband and the need to work-on-location can often be covered by access to a WiFi point or using a Smartphone.
Perhaps the recent announcements by the mobile phone companies of limiting data use on smartphones, may have an impact – and the cycnics amongst you might suggest has been led by this drastic fall in mobile broadband take-up. We shall have to wait and see.
Do you have mobile broadband? If not, why not? If you do have mobile broadband do you think it is up to the task?