UK consumers abandon mobile broadband

UK consumers are leaving mobile broadband in droves, a new report from Broadband Expert revealed.

There was a huge 57 percent drop in people signing onto mobile broadband through Broadband Expert over the last year. Approximately 3,000 people signed up to mobile broadband in May 2009, but the figures dropped to only 1,300 in May this year. 

Rob Webber, commercial director of Broadband Expert, said: “Mobile broadband experienced phenomenal growth in the UK as consumers expected all the benefits of a home broadband connection whilst on the move. Sadly the technology has not lived up to the hype; we receive a huge amount of feedback from customers complaining of inconsistent or non-existent connections and speeds comparable to dial-up or worse.”

Experian Hitwise also reported an over 50 percent drop in web searches for mobile broadband, suggesting a trend within the industry as people move towards faster and more reliable fibre-optic lines.

The release of Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, however, is likely to turn these figures around and give mobile broadband a healthy boost, according to Webber.

“We’re already seeing companies rolling out LTE networks in the US and Europe, but the UK is still 12-18 months away from this,” he said. “LTE should boost mobile broadband speeds massively, with downloads speeds of over 100mbps achieved in testing; so it could outperform and even replace home broadband in the future. However, the UK needs to work faster to adopt the new technology required to reinstate consumer faith in the mobile broadband service and help sales recover to their former level.”

However, with fibre-optic lines offering up to 100Mb/s and even higher in the future, we are not so sure mobile broadband will replace a standard cable connection.