Mobile broadband sales dive

Comparison website says it's seen a 57 per cent year-on-year drop
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Mobile broadband sign-ups have plummeted as the technology has failed to meet expectations, comparison website Broadband Expert claims.

Broadband Expert signed up 3,000 UK consumers to mobile broadband plans in May 2009, compared to just 1,300 in May 2010.

The company claims the findings are supported by Experian Hitwise data, which reports a drop of more than 50 per cent in the amount of searches undertaken for the phrase ‘mobile broadband’ in the same period.

Rob Webber, Broadband Expert’s commercial director, says that UK consumers have been let down by mobile broadband technology; with slow speeds and poor coverage being the main factors: “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."

Webber believes that the impending availability of a super fast LTE (Long Term Evolution) network will give mobile broadband the shot in the arm it needs to win back consumer confidence but is concerned that Britain is lagging behind in this area.

“We’re already seeing companies rolling out LTE networks in the US and Europe,” he says, “but the UK is still 12-18 months away from this. 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.”

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