According to WhatPhone, a phone company comparison site, customer interest in mobile broadband plans has skyrocketed in the last 12 months.
Mobile broadband has been around since the days of 3G – so for more than 10 years now. Typically, Mobile Broadband services were used almost exclusively by business people and plugged into laptops. They were difficult to use because they often required special software which had to be activated to enable the connection.
Recently, the price of mobile 4G data has dropped to the point that is it now becoming a viable alternative for fixed broadband connections. what phone surveyed 500 people on the subject and here’s what they found. When people are comparing mobile broadband to fixed, the things which are most important to them are speed, reliability, and price.
It’s getting cheaper
The key factor which is driving the move to mobile broadband is the dramatic reduction in price which has come in recent months. There are now huge data bundles available – often up to 100Gb at prices around the $50 – $70 per month mark.
A 100 GB data allowance isn’t right for everyone. That sort of usage will suit average requirement levels but probably not a family of 5 which watches a lot of Netflix. Data limited are constantly being increased, however, and this product which used to appeal to only a few now appeals to much more.
Obviously, one of the key benefits of mobile broadband is its portability.In the old days, you needed a special piece of equipment which you’d plug into your laptop to get the benefits of mobile broadband. Those still exist but they’re much more affordable. And new options have been added too.
- Many are tethering: Many users avoid all additional cost for new hardware by tethering (Apple users call it ‘creating a hotspot’) their phone to their laptop and streaming data that way.
- You can use broadband wherever you are: The nature of mobile broadband is that you can use it wherever you are. It opens up new opportunities to connect to the internet – keeping the kids interested in the back of the car on long journeys. Getting University students online immediately when they might not be resident in a property for more than a few months. Ditto renters. Mobile broadband is expanding to service the needs of all these groups, which were previously unmet.
- 4G will give you up to around 100 Mbps: 100 Mbps is fast enough internet. It’s fast enough to stream multiple Netflix screens over a single 4G connection.
- Some 4.5G areas are opening up, too: Clever phone company trickery means that some modems can connect to two streams of data at once. That can double the data download speeds users get.
- No costs to set it up: Fixed broadband implementations cost money to install, there is usually a $100 modem fee and there can be charges if the customer moves house/premises during the course of their contact. Mobile broadband avoids these charges.
- Modems when are used are cheaper: There is a variety on offer but some mobile broadband modems cost as little as $40.
- No requirement to tie it in with a fixed phone line: Fixed broadband agreements often come with a requirement that the customer signing up to them also take a phone connection – and there is usually a cost associated with that. With an increasing proportion of the population having mobile phones only, this is another ‘unfair’ cost which can be avoided.
5G is on it’s way
- 5G will be here in 2020: 5G or the fifth generation of mobile network technology is nearly with us. It should be launched internationally in 2020.
- That’s likely to cut costs further: 5G offers essentially unlimited network capacity which is likely to see prices for the transmission of data drop further. 5G’s oversupply of bandwidth will likely lead to unlimited data bundles.
As you will be able to tell from the research, broadband itself is seen commodity.
The most important thing to understand is that the amount of data they’re including in these mobile broadband bundles is doubling every year, on existing 4G connections at the same price. Soon, we’ll be getting half a terabyte of data for less than $100 per month. What is starting now, as a stream of users which meet particular niche profile needs (like Students, business people, and renters) will shortly become a river of everyday users migrating away from fixed broadband to mobile?
Mobile broadband already provides the speed and reliability that people want. It will soon provide price parity with fixed – and then we’ll all move over. 5G is just around the corner. It could be the death knell for fixed broadband connections and a fairer solution for customers who want broadband plus the convenience of portability.