The mobile broadband market is moving towards mass adoption in Western Europe. The upgrading of networks to next generation technologies like HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE, coupled with attractive pricing and allowance plans, will create growth potential for telecom operators in the mobile broadband market. Market participants have already started targeting various user segments, and with strong branding they can seek to gain market share and sustain revenue growth in the long term.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (wireless.frost.com), Mobile Broadband in Western Europe, finds that increases in smart phone and tablet penetration, and growing demand for Internet on the go encourage users to adopt mobile broadband. The following markets are covered in the report: France, Germany, Italy, UK and Spain, and the following technologies are included: GSM, EDGE, GPRS, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE, WCDMA, WiMAX and Wi-Fi.
In the United Kingdom, the number of mobile broadband customers has increased significantly in the years since its introduction. The increase in the number of smart phones and tablets contributed to mobile broadband subscriber growth. This trend was not, however, paralleled by notable improvements in speed and quality of service (QoS).
"European mobile broadband users have experienced several challenges related to QoS, resulting in the growth rate beginning to decline after first two years of mobile broadband introduction in Western Europe," notes Jayashree Rajagopal, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst. "The evolution of technologies such as HSPDA and LTE will help operators keep pace with the QoS requirements of mobile broadband consumers."
With network upgrades due to the spectrum freed by Ofcom in the UK, and reasonable pricing and data allowance plans, telecom operators have finally begun to meet consumer expectations. According to Frost & Sullivan, the number of subscribers in the UK is expected to reach 52.2 million by 2015. The 2012 LTE spectrum auction is being viewed as a means to boost the mobile broadband market and meet rising demand. Nevertheless, it is likely to result only in marginal gains, due to the time and investment required to establish LTE networks.
The major broadband technology in Europe for the upcoming years will be HSPDA. Even where LTE is commercially launched, it will act as a complementary technology to the existing HSDPA networks in the short term. Alternative technologies like WiMAX have gained momentum in rural areas, where mobile broadband is yet to arrive.
Mobile broadband consumers are not well versed with the type of technology that is offered and its potential. They differentiate between mobile broadband providers based on the applications and services offered as well as the quality of service and speed.
"Mobile operators have to communicate that mobility is the key feature that differentiates mobile broadband from fixed broadband and hence they serve different purposes," concludes Ms Rajagopal. "To attract more customers, it is more important to focus on coverage and tariff plans, rather than solely on technology."
If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an email with your contact details to Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at joanna.lewandowska[.]frost.com.
Mobile Broadband in Western Europe is part of the Mobile & Wireless Communications Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: mPayments in Europe, LTE in Europe, and The European Mobile Video Market. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Mobile Broadband in Western Europe / M6E4