Mobile broadband poses threat to traditional ISPs

Approximately one in eight mobile broadband users have either replaced their fixed line ISP or chosen a mobile broadband service in preference to a fixed ISP service, according to market research firm, YouGov.

With increasing numbers of households dispensing with their landlines (13% according to Ofcom,) accessing the internet through the mobile phone network is a viable option, especially for the young and mobile.
This is one of the major findings from YouGov’s DongleTrack report that interviewed users and potential users of mobile broadband services.

Mobile broadband is defined as where a dongle or data card attached to a PC or laptop accesses the internet via a mobile phone network. It is not described as the use of the internet on mobile phones (known as mobile internet).

Yet not all mobile broadband users are satisfied with the service they receive, according to the research. More than a quarter of existing mobile broadband customers can be considered unlikely to renew their mobile broadband contracts or to continue to use mobile broadband on a pre-paid basis.

Three main groups of reasons have been identified as driving dissatisfaction, with connection speed and expense heading staying connected as the main factors.

Commenting on the results, Marek Vaygelt, head of technology and telecommunications consulting at YouGov, said: “Customers find mobile broadband easy to use and install but transmission speeds and to a lesser extent network coverage reduce the initial enjoyment of getting up and running. It is in these areas that fixed ISPs have a distinct advantage and need to concentrate their marketing effort to minimise customer loss.”

He continued: “For mobile operators, the challenge is to improve network coverage to a level where customers’ satisfaction levels rise and churn is reduced. The goldrush is coming to an end. Now the operators need to consolidate by improving their networks and tackling the fear and uncertainty that some potential new customers have about price”.