'Mobile broadband' badge to appear on notebooks

James Middleton

September 30, 2008

2 Min Read
'Mobile broadband' badge to appear on notebooks

Mobile industry body, the GSM Association (GSMA) made its big announcement on Tuesday, and it turns out the Informer was bang on with his prediction.

Firing up the ‘mobile broadband’ hype machine and positioning the technology as a credible alternative to wifi and DSL, the GSMA has unveiled the Mobile Broadband service mark.

Essentially, the mark is a sticker that will go on a range of notebook PCs featuring embedded HSPA 3G connectivity. Michael O’Hara, newly inaugurated chief marketing officer at the GSMA, said that the initiative is being backed by a global media spend of more than $1bn in the next year, which is, “Evidence that the industry is serious about this proposition.”

So far, 16 equipment manufacturers and mobile companies have jumped on the bandwagon, including 3 Group, Asus, Dell, ECS, Ericsson, Gemalto, Lenovo, Microsoft, Orange, Qualcomm, Telefonica Europe, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone, and plan to get devices out in 91 countries, just in time for Christmas.

The Association reckons it has identified an untapped $50bn market, which is addressable by laptops with built in mobile broadband. This mass market opportunity is estimated to be in the region of 70 million units worldwide, and O’Hara maintains it is a gap not already plugged by increasingly popular dongles and data cards.

Indeed, integrating mobile broadband into notebooks is the first step in a wider strategy to embed the technology into a whole range of previously unconnected devices, from cameras and MP3 players to refrigerators, cars and set top boxes.

However, the service mark will only be usable by devices adhering to the HSPA family of standards, and the vendors will have to pay a licensing fee to use it.

As for revenue models for the supporting operators, the explanation is a little cloudy. Depending on the market, carriers will either sell the hardware on or heavily subsidise it, and it seems likely that the accompanying data plan will be charged at a flat rate. Conceivably, the only real revenues could come from value added services, although O’Hara made much of the opportunities for the operators to get “a second screen” in front of their subscribers.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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