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A Look at the Current Profile of the Mobile Broadband Market

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

Mobile Broadband and The Future

The mobile broadband market is evolving fast.  We’ve seen the evolution of 4G connectivity to supersede 3G connectivity.  It’s an exciting time for consumers as they gain the ability to do more on their smartphones and other mobile devices.

Indeed, gone are the days when mobile broadband was particularly poor and a somewhat frustrating experience for most.  Nowadays, as long as you can get a decent signal, which is in most places in the UK, you can enjoy mobile broadband on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

This article will look at some of the providers in the market, where Orange Broadband and T-Mobile Broadband have gone, and why the market is evolving so fast.

Orange Broadband and T-Mobile Broadband

Many of us grew up knowing Orange and T-Mobile as mainstream mobile phone networks.  The reason you won’t have seen them on the market recently is that they have merged to form Everything Everywhere, and Everything Everywhere are going not just into mobile broadband but also home broadband.

Everything Everywhere stole a march on their competition with 4G connectivity by releasing 4G to the network first.  They’ve already covered around 50% or 60% of the country with 4G and are way ahead of the likes of Vodafone, Three and O2.  These other providers have invested heavily in their portion of the spectrum and are putting it into their networks for release sometime in 2013.

Everything Everywhere already had the infrastructure in place to start the release and Ofcom gave them permission to do so.

With the number of providers in the market, it really is an exciting time for consumers as they have more companies competing for their business. This will force prices down over time.

What will this 4G allow you to do?

3G was fast at around 1.4Mbps.  Average speeds were around half a megabit per second, which were enough for standard definition streaming on some websites and most other activities that you wanted to do.  However, performance was jittery and you weren’t going to get the best experience. 

With 14.4Mbps available through 4G we now have a broadband service through the mobile networks that is very comparable to home broadband.  It means that you’ll be able to jump several people onto the same connection and do fairly high intensity activities at the same time.  This is a far cry from the past when it was practically impossible to do anything online on mobile broadband.

Orange broadband and T-mobile broadband forming Everything Everywhere have developed a really strong presence in the market.  But all the other networks also have massive resources to pump into their 4G infrastructure, and it is extremely profitable.

Motivators for the Market

One might have thought that with the emergence of wireless hotspots and the strength of fibre optic broadband, that mobile broadband may struggle in the market place.  After all, mobile dongles are far less common than they were in the past and data is expensive.  However, one of the drivers that has had most impact on the mobile broadband market is the evolution of smartphones.

Nowadays, around 90% of us have smartphones in certain demographics.  Smartphones offer the opportunity to do far more than just call, take a few pictures and text.  The android platform is fantastic with 700,000 applications to download.  iPhones have taken the UK by storm.

Top Devices

Devices at the top end of the market, like the HTC One, the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Sony Xperia Z, cost up to and above £500.  When bundled in a mobile phone contract, they amount to contracts of typically over £1000 in 24 months.  This kind of outlay by consumers has made it possible for smartphones to get better and better, and made it necessary for mobile broadband to improve, too.

The mobile networks have seized on the opportunity to grab a slice of the cake as the trend for people being ever more smartphone technology hungry seems to be increasing.  Screens are bigger at around 5 inches, with some even larger than that, and there’s even talk of a folding screen that will be the size of a small television. 

The activities that we do on our phones require that broadband is faster, more stable, and more affordable and that is what the network providers are trying to deliver.

A Look at MiFi Devices

MiFi devices are now available on Orange broadband and most of the other operators.  These will be available in 4G and provide the opportunity for consumers to jump five devices onto the same connection.  This is a massive step forward for mobile broadband and provides the technology with the capacity to enter the home broadband market.

Indeed, those who have good 4G signals may be able to do away with their phone line and fixed line broadband connection, unless of course they really do consume a lot of data.  It is the case that fixed line broadband cost of data is less than mobile data.  But if you’re a fairly a light user, or can get a really good deal on mobile broadband data, why wouldn’t you want to have a solution that you can take with you and is a one device option for all of your broadband needs.

These devices can be as small as a credit card and so it’s possible even to slip one into your pocket so that you can run your mobile phone and your tablet off the device on the go.

Top Tip

With the emergence of 4G connectivity, the landscape in the mobile broadband market has changed.  Over the next year, prices are going to come down, and the technology available for connectivity is going to increase.

If you’re thinking about getting a mobile broadband solution, then why not consider getting a cheaper deal through Everything Everywhere where you can save on your home broadband by having mobile broadband.  Alternatively, use an Orange broadband service or another service on your mobile phone, and use your phone as a hotspot for the time being until mobile broadband packages fall in price, and you can up your investment. 

MiFi - Better Mobile Internet

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