Mobile broadband sales plummet; users complain of poor QoS

Contract sales of mobile broadband services have nose-dived in the UK by more than a third, according to a new report from GfK's retail and technology division.

The firm stated that mobile broadband contract sales for May 2010 had fallen by over 30 per cent compared with sales in May 2009. At the same time, sales had risen in the mobile broadband prepay market as well as for cheaper and shorter mobile broadband contract deals.

Discussion as to the reason behind this decline ranges from poor QoS, operators looking to reduce mobile broadband growth to relieve their saturated data networks, and little more than the market undergoing a shift to maturity.

According to GfK, an indication of what operators are attempting to achieve comes from the rise in cheaper mobile broadband deals, particularly those below £10. This price band has gained over 20 per cent of the UK market in May 2010 despite only being available since last August.

"This growth of the 0-£9.99 point shows that the market is slipping down into the lower priced areas, with lower data allowance attached," said David Nelmes, analyst at GfK.

GfK predicts that this fall in mobile broadband contract sales will continue, with contract sales that include a laptop the hardest hit, falling month on month.

Separately, consumer research just published by YouGov and Acision found that 84 per cent of UK mobile broadband users reported QoS issues. Slow speeds were amongst the most commonly encountered problems (67 per cent), while others complained of poor network coverage (49 per cent), inability to get connected (45 per cent) and connection loss (40 per cent).

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