A new study from comScore indicates U.S. Internet usage via mobile PC data cards began to noticeably taper off in Q4 2008 as the economy took a nose dive. The firm examined usage and characteristics of mobile PC data card users through information collected from computers where web access via mobile broadband connections occurred. It found PC data card adoption growth grew just 5 percent in the fourth quarter, following sequential growth of 22 percent in the third quarter and several previous quarters of double-digit growth.
"The PC data card market is clearly in the early stages of its adoption curve, with the overall number of subscribers multiplying in the past few years," said Serge Matta, comScore senior vice president. "That said, we've observed a significant deceleration in subscriber growth during Q4 2008 coinciding with the economic downturn, an indication that mobile broadband service may still be seen by many as a luxury rather than a necessity. Now is the time for mobile broadband providers to solidify their market position, because--as the economy begins to recover and discretionary spending resumes––the market will likely accelerate once again. Verizon appears well-positioned for this eventual resurgence, having gained 2 market share points in the past year."
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