Top 10 Broadband’s findings fly in the face of recent reports that suggested that demand for 3G embedded laptops and netbooks has been exaggerated. Coverage of a study from Disruptive Research reported that projections for demand had been hyped up by PC manufacturers and that mass adoption of laptops with built-in broadband was years away.
A study conducted by Disruptive Research forecast that in three years time the proportion of mobile broadband subscribers using built-in wireless would be just 30%, compared with 58% who will be using a dongle or external USB modem to get online.
However, based on over one thousand sales in November, deals from Vodafone and Orange that included laptops with embedded 3G broadband outstripped those that offered free laptops with external USB modems or dongles, by a ratio of almost three to two.
Moreover, the products have proved so popular that they are now the third and fifth biggest selling mobile broadband offers on the site. Vodafone’s offer includes a mobile broadband embedded Dell Mini 9 notebook for no extra charge when customers take out a 24 month contract starting at £15 a month. Orange’s Broadband Internet Everywhere package is priced £25 per month and includes a free 3G-embedded Asus Eee 901 laptop, which ordinarily retails for £299.99.
Jessica McArdle, marketing manager at Top 10 Broadband, said: “Demand for 3G-embedded laptop broadband deals has rocketed since the first consumer targeted offer was launched in September 2008. Given how fast they are selling, we are baffled by these recent projections which seem to be speculative and have no grounding in actual broadband product sales.”
Suggestions that the credit crunch-induced squeeze on consumer budgets would constrain demand for the devices were also rebuffed by Top 10 Broadband’s findings. The team noted that sales are booming for broadband bundles incorporating free mobile broadband devices at a time when money is tight. Demand for value seems to be driving adoption of all mobile broadband technology.