The custom research outlines the challenges in the mobile broadband marketplace and proposes a set of elements for new business models to alleviate expected negative consequences of broadband commoditisation.
Information for the October 2008 research, conducted by Parks Associates on behalf of Camiant, was gathered from indepth interviews with executives at 16 major mobile broadband providers in Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, Turkey, Scandinavia, and the US to determine adoption and predominant usage patterns as well as operator capabilities with respect to network and user control and interest in pursuing new mobile broadband business models.
According to the findings, mobile broadband affords tremendous growth opportunities for operators; however, given the popularity of data cards and smart phones and the substantial capital expenses involved in building additional network capacity, operators can expect to hit network limitations fairly quickly.
With operators seeing anywhere from 100% to 800% bandwidth growth, there is a clear need to design new business models for the mobile broadband market. Existing business models, especially the unlimited models popular in Western Europe and the US, have dangerous drawbacks that will become apparent in the next three to five years. As mobile broadband adoption continues to grow and traffic volume skyrockets, the revenue that these models deliver will fail to offset the costs of delivering the traffic.
Anton Denissov, research analyst with Parks Associates, stated: “Mobile carriers around the world, especially those offering unlimited data plans, must rethink their approach to wireless broadband network management. Failure to implement refined network controls and business policies would condition abusive consumer use patterns and accelerate service commoditisation.”
Randy Fuller, vice president of business development for Camiant, commented: “The time is right for mobile operators to embrace new business models and to train users to behave in a long term economic fashion, and not expect ‘all you can eat’ models. Operators who implement more refined policies and models that monetise traffic early on, before consumer expectations and behaviours are conditioned, won’t be the ones leaving money on the table.”