The iPhone and the Ensuing Wireless Broadband Boom

17 thoughts on “The iPhone and the Ensuing Wireless Broadband Boom”

  1. Om,

    Superphones have less to do with the explosive growth in mobile data traffic. The principal driver thus far has been the USB-dongle and modem phenomenon accompanied by subsidized or free laptops and netbooks. While these have been the domain of the business user, mobile operators are going after the residential customer base with their very reasonably-priced offerings.

  2. @Ram

    These superphones are a new phenomenon and will be the main reason why you will see the growth in wireless data consumption increase. I think USB dongles etc got the initial demand right but on a larger scale, superphones are the driver.

  3. And WiFi will play a big role. As you can see the iPhone does not let you buy movies, TV series or even music over 3G. 3G carriers don´t have a valid business model that allows customers with flat rate contracts to download visual content. AT&T just bought Wayport and Fon continues to make deals with mobile players who want to offload heavy data traffic through WiFi. We work with SFR Neuf already but we have other large mobile players who we are teaming up with.

  4. You write that “operators will have to spend a lot of money to upgrade their networks in order to keep up with the demand” – but looking at the figures more closely it is evident that they will never be able to spend the money fast enough to catch up with Mobile Data demand. Another problem is – they can’t just put more and more base stations wherever they want; there are regulation and zoning restrictions and other hurdles. And besides – where are they going to get all that money? They can’t just charge they subscribers more to cover these costs.
    The bottom line is that Wi-Fi will become a critical component in the puzzle.
    The operators will have to cooperate with router-based solutions like FON, and intelligent Wi-Fi management software on the devices, like WeFi.com

  5. @Om & Ram

    There’s a difference between the US market and much of Europe & elsewhere. In the US, there still isn’t the impetus behind massmarket consumer 3G USB dongles for PCs seen elsewhere. This is largely down to pricing – most US 3G contracts are $50+ per month, and there’s not many prepaid options. Elsewhere, $10-15 per month gets 1-3GB capped services, which coupled with cheap (usually Huawei) modems gets millions of users online. The US market for 3G modems and PC mobile broadband is still enterprise/enthusiast focused.

    In much of Europe, over 90% of 3G data traffic is driven by PCs. In the US, the 3G traffic much more geared into iPhones, BlackBerries and other high-end smartphones.

    I don’t see this changing too much over the next year.

    Dean

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