New mobile broadband consortium eyes $50 bn opportunity

New category of mobile broadband devices claimed to deliver a compelling alternative to Wi-Fi

A 16-strong consortium based around leading IT and mobile companies is to create a new category of mobile broadband devices which are claimed to deliver a compelling alternative to Wi-Fi.

The initiative is backed by Dell, Ericsson, Lenovo, Microsoft, Orange , T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone among others and is being led by the GSMA. The mobile communications trade body believes that its actions will enable operators to address what it believes is a US$50 billion opportunity in both mature and emerging markets.

In the first phase of the initiative, mobile operators, PC manufacturers and chipset providers are uniting to pre-install mobile broadband into a range of notebook PCs that will be ready to connect to mobile broadband out of the box in 91 countries across the world.

To help purchasers identify such ‘ready to run’ mobile broadband devices, the GSMA has created a Mobile Broadband service mark. It claims that the Mobile Broadband service mark will be backed by a global media spend of more than US$1 billion in the next year.

“Mobile Broadband is like a home or office broadband connection with one crucial difference: freedom. Freedom from hot spots, freedom from complexity and freedom from security concerns,” explained Michael O’Hara, CMO of the GSMA. “Today, 16 of the world’s largest technology companies have committed to change the way people get online forever. This commitment is manifested in a service mark that we expect to see on several hundred thousand notebooks in the shops by the holiday season. The Mobile Broadband badge will assure consumers that the devices they buy will always connect – wherever Mobile Broadband is available – and that they can expect a high standard of simplicity and mobility.”

The Mobile Broadband initiative has been described as’ timely’ and ‘liberating  by intdustry analyst IDC. Commented Shiv K. Bakhshi, Ph.D., IDC director of mobility research. "While there will always be a place for Wi-Fi connectivity, the great merit of Mobile Broadband might be that it liberates the user from the spatial tyranny of the so-called 'hotspot.' A Mobile Broadband solution, informed by close collaboration between PC makers, chipset vendors and mobile operators, should focus on appropriate optimisation of the services and superior performance on the device, and consequently, a better user experience."

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