Global Economics

Mobile Broadband Threatens Fixed Line


Market research company YouGov finds that mobile broadband is making major inroads into the business of fixed-line ISPs

Mobile broadband is encroaching on the business of fixed line ISPs, market research company YouGov is claiming. But not everyone is happy with the dongle experience.

Results from YouGov's DongleTrack report show while the majority (64 per cent) of mobile broadband users are buying dongles or datacards as an accessory to fixed line fat pipes, a significant minority (12 per cent—or one in eight mobile broadband users) has either ditched their fixed line connection or opted to use 3G modems instead of having a landline put it.

The YouGov survey also found a lucky four per cent of mobile broadband users have datacards provided by their work.

A recent state of the digital nation Ofcom report found UK dongle sales nearly doubled between February and June this year, rising from 69,000 to 133,000 per month.

The regulator has also charted the rise of homes without landlines in the UK—as more people opt to rely on mobile phones for voice calls—and puts the figure at 12 per cent of homes.

But with the rise in popularity of mobile broadband gadgets, the landline is under attack on two fronts. Not least because UK households seeking to install or reconnect a landline can face a BT connection charge of almost £130.

Lack of access to a landline was cited as the reason for adopting a dongle or datacard by 13 per cent of respondents to the survey.

Asked what they intend to do in the next 12 months when their mobile broadband subscription expires, the majority of users (65 per cent) said they intend to continue consuming fixed line ISP and mobile broadband. But five per cent said they plan to cancel their home ISP and just rely on their 3G gizmos.

However the survey also shows evidence of dissatisfaction with the dongle experience: 11 per cent of respondents said they plan to continue to use their home ISP and cancel mobile broadband, and 18 per cent are unsure what they will do.

Slow connection speeds and costs were cited as the primary reasons putting customers off mobile broadband.

Marek Vaygelt, head of technology and telecommunications consulting at YouGov, said in a statement: "Customers find mobile broadband easy to use and install but transmission speeds and, to a lesser extent, network coverage reduce the initial enjoyment of getting up and running. It is in these areas that fixed ISPs have a distinct advantage and need to concentrate their marketing effort to minimise customer loss."

Vaygelt added that mobile operators need to improve network coverage in order to reduce customer churn and also tackle "the fear and uncertainty that some potential new customers have about price".

The YouGov survey is based on interviews with 1,050 mobile broadband users and 2,050 non users in the UK.

Provided by silicon.com—Driving Business Through Technology

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