Mobile broadband: less is definitely more

Further evidence comes in as to the direction that telecoms operators need to take regarding mobile broadband in order to fuel the mobile computing revolution.

According to a new report by the Tariff Consultancy, mobile broadband is prospering due mainly to the growing number of flat-rate packages and the increasing value of the service offered.

Among the main findings from the survey of users in 33 European countries is the fact that mobile broadband flat rate bundles are now the norm across the continent and are the most common form of price package.

Pricing in 2008 has fallen by an average of 4% across all countries and the average flat rate package bundle provided has doubled over the last 12 months to almost 4GB. Specifically for the UK, average mobile broadband prices have fallen by 35% in the last year.

Tariff Consultancy predicts that with more mobile operators deploying HSDPA networks, theoretically supporting download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps, the increase in flat rate packages is likely to continue.

In fact news from down under tells us that  Ericsson and Telstra have unveiled a commercial HSPA network offering up to 21 bps speeds. Trials of the 21 Mbps mobile broadband service on the Next G network have just begun with a full commercial launch to follow early in 2009.

Commenting on the research findings, Tariff Consultancy Managing Director Margrit Sessions said, “Although mobile broadband pricing has continued to decline overall, the most striking feature has been the continued increase in monthly user allowances which have more than doubled in the course of a year.”

“Mobile operators have to ensure that they provision the network capacity to meet the demand that flat rate pricing will create and also safeguard against over-selling their service,” Sessions added.

Indeed. The services have to deliver and deliver cost-effectively. So far so good.