Cellular Modems – US Survey Finds Uptake Limited by Cost

Posted by at 7:47 am on August 17, 2009

ABI Research recently carried out   a survey in the United States of 1000 consumer about their attitudes about cellular modems.

Cellular modems enable laptop computers (and increasingly, devices such as netbooks, e-readers, PNDs and even cameras) to access the Internet. Typical cellular modem users currently pay $50-$60/month for mobile data services from national providers. Respondents who don’t currently own cellular modems but are interested in them, however, place a significantly lower value -“ somewhere between less than $10 and $30/month -“ on that service.

“Over 47% of US survey respondents had at least some interest in cellular modems and their willingness to pay for mobile data service is at half of current market prices,” notes senior analyst Jeff Orr. “In the US at least, consumers want a mobile data service costing no more than their home broadband.”

Part of the reason for this is that developed telecommunications markets, including the US, are more likely to add a cellular modem in addition to their fixed Internet access rather than as a replacement. Another consideration is that high-speed mobile broadband networks are not ubiquitous: only certain regions and locations (those offering newer 3G or 4G data networks) presently have coverage, but that will improve over time.

While plan cost will inevitably fall, there is a trade-off with the still less-than-perfect capacity of the networks. “Could operators say -˜we’ll give you mobile broadband performance for $39 a month’?” Orr asks. “Yes; but will they be able to deliver on that promise?”

Interest in and Usage of Cellular Modems” provides survey results related to cellular modems. The results are laid out in charts with additional summaries and analysis comparing the responses of those interested in cellular modems and those who currently have the devices and service.

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