Popularity of Mobile Broadband Surges Among European Consumers, Says IDC

LONDON -January 22, 2009- According to a recent study from IDC, mobile broadband has grown rapidly in popularity among European consumers during the past 18 months. This rapid consumer uptake has been catalyzed by four main factors: the upgrading of 3G networks with HSPA, the availability of small USB connection devices, a fall in the price of subscriptions, and a rise in consumer penetration of portable PCs.

"Mobile broadband presents a big land-grab opportunity, both now and for several years to come," said John Delaney, IDC's European director of consumer mobile research. "But although the service is simple in concept, its role in the consumer services market is complex. Mobility is only one among a variety of reasons why consumers like mobile broadband. Success in the market will depend critically on a clear understanding of how mobile broadband should be positioned in the spectrum of mobile and Internet services."

Mobile broadband is a new source of revenue for mobile operators and improves the use of 3G networks; unlike other new mobile services such as TV and gaming, it relates directly to a telcos' core business. "However, it also substitutes for fixed-line broadband in some circumstances, cannibalizing existing revenues," said Delaney. "As such, it is important for operators with both fixed and mobile networks to understand what factors are driving demand for mobile broadband, what is likely to happen to those factors over the next few years, and what strategies they should adopt to take maximum advantage of the opportunity."

Further Findings

European operators sorely need new service revenues, and mobile broadband promises to satisfy that need by generating revenue that is new and entirely incremental to existing revenue streams.

The combination of a strongly growing addressable market with prices at fixed-broadband levels, and in increasingly flexible packages, will ensure that consumer demand for mobile broadband remains strong for some time to come.

The global recession, however, could slow down the penetration of portable PCs and therefore the addressable market for mobile broadband. It may also make consumers more reluctant to commit to a new service contract.

The study, Mobile Broadband: Home and Away (IDC #HW15Q, December 2008), analyzes the Western European market for mobile broadband – that is, services providing consumers with broadband Internet access, using portable PCs that are connected via the cellular network. It provides guidance for maximizing the mobile broadband opportunity aimed at mobile operators, ISPs, device vendors, and network vendors.

For more information, please contact your local IDC office or visit www.idc.com.

IDC is holding a conference on mobility in Copenhagen on March 26. For more information, please visit nordic.idc.com/mob09_dk.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 44 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.