Monday, March 20, 2006

More on mobile broadband - HSDPA report

Informa's just released their latest report on HSDPA deployments and I'm glad to see they've singled out tariffs as being pretty important.

MNO's have so far resisted flat-rate tariffs for mobile broadband. But the fixed line broadband market didn't take off until low flat-rates became a reality. True, some operators have increased their fair usage limits but they are still stifling the market with high prices. The funny thing is that they seem to be aware that they're own pricing policies are the cause of low data usage!

Pricing is still between Euro50 and Euro70 per month, for 1-2Gbit usage.

Is this the "mobility premium" I've talked about before? Yes. And no.

What do I mean by 'yes?' That's easy. MNO's will leverage HSDPA's one key advantage over both fixed DSL and Wi-Fi, mobility, to justify premium pricing. In the voice world, this 'mobility premium' has for years allowed mobile operators to get away with vastly higher tariffs than those charged by the fixed line guys. As competition continues to exert downward pressure on prices and to erode this premium, MNOs will look to leverage HSDPA's mobility benefits to establish a new 'mobile premium' for mobile broadband over its fixed counterparts of Wi-Fi and DSL.

What do I mean by 'no?' I think that they're scared of a free for all. Their networks would fall flat on their faces if people started blasting broadband traffic through a 3G network the same as they do on their DSL at home.

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