Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Sharer plans will stimulate subscriber growth

Hopefully you will by now have seen the mobile broadband forecasts that I've put out in my capacity as Principal Analyst as Analysys Mason. In the forecasts I'm fairly bullish about the prospects for the growth in connections over the next 5 years. A number of factors will stimulate growth including increasing competition, faster networks and more appealing tariffs. I'm also assuming that MNOs will find increasingly innovative ways to spread connectivity out to the mass market, grabbing the opportunity presented by massively increasing laptop penetration and the virtual ubiquity of embedded modems in the future.

One example struck me last week. 3 in Australia (ever a testbed market for the rest of the mobile broadband world) launched a sharer plan for business, allowing corporate or SME accounts to share a bucket of data between multiple users. There's nothing new about sharer plans in voice and it's a natural extension to open this out to mobile broadband for businesses, and eventually families.

With group plans, mobile broadband becomes a more affordable option if individual usage is low. Today MNOs penalise and put off occasional users by requiring a minimum monthly spend or charging a higher per-GB fee. By bundling users into a group plan MNOs can provide novice users with the opportunity to experience and (hopefully) come to value mobile broadband, ultimately driving growth in usage and spend.


  1. It will be interesting to see with what kind of plans they come up with. They have to be pretty huge if they're also going to handle iPhone and netbook traffic. The iPhone deserves a special mention here as its users use 30 times more traffic than other devices. The average usage is 640MByte/month. (http://internetthought.blogspot.com)

  2. Great research with the mobile broadband forecasts for the European market. Have you seen any research for the Australian mobile broadband market?