Western operators should position mobile broadband as a complement to fixed broadband, not a substitute, says Analysys Mason
Date: Sat, 04/02/2011 - 21:45 Source: Analysys Mason press department
Attempts to sell mobile broadband as an alternative to fixed broadband are likely to fail in European and US markets because there is a strong, and correct, perception among consumers that mobile broadband is slower, less reliable and more expensive than fixed broadband
Where consumers have a choice between fixed and mobile broadband, mobile broadband should not be sold as the primary means of access, but as a complement. This is based on the findings of the Connected Consumer survey 2, a study of the telecoms and media activities of 6000 consumers across Europe and the USA published by Analysys Mason.
More than 70% of respondents who expressed an opinion agreed with statements that mobile broadband was slower, less reliable and more expensive than fixed broadband. Customers are also becoming increasingly happy with their fixed broadband service. Of respondents who said they were not interested in mobile broadband, 72% said it was because they are happy with their fixed service (up from 65% last year).
“The positive message for service providers is that customers have realistic expectations for mobile broadband, and are not taking it to be a direct equivalent to fixed broadband,” says Tom Rebbeck, Research Director at Analysys Mason and author of The Connected Consumer survey 2: mobile broadband report. “If they were, they would likely be disappointed. To sell mobile broadband as a substitute for fixed broadband would mean cutting prices while providing a poorer service – something that is unlikely to be satisfactory in the long term. About 13% of mobile broadband subscribers are already planning to drop the service. By comparison, less than 1% of subscribers intend to abandon their mobile voice service.”
The factors that might attract consumers who are not currently considering mobile broadband – price reductions and network improvements – would be costly to implement. Prices are already low in many markets and, given the cost pressure on mobile broadband, it is unlikely that operators will reduce them further.
“The solution is simply to focus on mobile broadband’s unique benefit in comparison with fixed broadband: the ability to connect to the Internet while on the move,” says Rebbeck, who also leads Analysys Mason’s Mobile Broadband research programme. “Our Connected Consumer survey found that mobility was the most important factor for those who are planning to take up or are considering a mobile broadband subscription. No other factor provides an easy method of selling the service.”