The GSMA has brought together 16 laptop OEMs, chipset developers, module manufacturers and mobile operators to create a new category of always-connected Mobile Broadband devices, delivering a compelling alternative to WiFi.
This will give consumers the freedom to get online on the move, while enabling operators to address a US$50 billion opportunity in both mature and emerging markets, according to the study commissioned by the GSMA and Microsoft and implemented by Pyramid Research.
The Mobile Broadband ‘service mark’ represents the global standard for Mobile Broadband incorporating HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), HSPA Evolved and LTE (Long Term Evolution). In the first phase of this 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 switch on and surf straight out of the box in 91 countries across the world.
To support this initiative, the GSMA has created the Mobile Broadband service mark, a new global identifier which will help consumers easily identify the array of ‘ready to run’ Mobile Broadband devices. The Mobile Broadband service mark is backed by a global media spend of more than US$1 billion in the next year – evidence that the industry is serious about this proposition.
“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,” said 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.”
Integrating Mobile Broadband into notebook PCs is the first step in a wider strategy to deliver wireless Internet access and management to a whole range of previously unconnected devices – from cameras and MP3 players to refrigerators, cars and set-top boxes.
Launch participants include 3 Group, Asus, Dell, ECS, Ericsson, Gemalto, Lenovo, Microsoft, Orange, Qualcomm, Telefónica Europe, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone – some of the world’s largest technology brands and operators serving more than 760 million connections.
“While there will always be a place for WiFi 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 optimization of the services and superior performance on the device, and consequently, a better user experience,” says Shiv K. Bakhshi, Ph.D., IDC director of mobility research.
Today, more than 55 million people subscribe to Mobile Broadband services in 91 countries – a number expected to grow by four million per month by the end of 2008, according to Wireless Intelligence.
The study involved more than 12,000 consumer interviews and over 200 field trials with mobile operators. In 2008, the survey estimates total demand of 79.5 million notebooks, worth some US$50 billion in 2008, for notebook PCs in the high growth, mass market $500 – $1,000 price range with built-in Mobile Broadband. The survey indicates 88% of consumers planning to buy a notebook in this price-range would prefer Mobile Broadband built-in to notebooks to their original choice. In 2008, OEMs are planning to ship some 33 million notebooks in this price range, only a fraction of which will be Mobile Broadband ready.
While most usage is in the home, the majority (78%) of respondents citied at least two other locations where they regularly used their notebooks. 60% of consumers now want to buy a voice and data package from an operator with a Mobile Broadband notebook. 57% of the demand comes from emerging Asia Pacific geographies, 15% from North America and 11% from Western Europe.