Bad news for all of those who keep telling people that wireless broadband can't compete with DSL and cable because networks couldn't cope with the traffic: You are wrong! Arthur D. Little consulting published a study last week that last year 57% of new broadband connections were wireless (3.5G + WiMAX a bit I guess) compared to 36% of new connections via DSL and 7% cable.
In total 46% of broadband connections are now via DSL, 26% via cable and 28% wireless. As I am in in Austria from time to time and have a local SIM card for mobile broadband I think the reasons for this outright success are the following:
- Very competitive pricing for wireless broadband
- Prepaid offers. I for example have a prepaid SIM for 3.5G with 3GB worth of data which I can consume over 12 months. 1GB afterwards can be had 20 euros with a validity period of another 12 months. The same 20 euros buy 2 GBs with a validity period of 1 month. Even cheaper offers are available via postpaid.
- So far pricing for DSL was very uncompetitive in Austria
- All four wireless operators are advertising their broadband solutions heavily
I think these number show quite impressively that well designed 3.5G networks can cope with the load of broadband Internet access from a significant percentage of the population. I can confirm this myself as my wireless HSPA connection has always worked nice so far whenever I was in Austria. Therefore fears by some mobile network operators that their networks might be overloaded are unfunded, unless of course they have an under dimensioned network.
Also thoughts can be put at rest that wireless broadband is not profitable. With wireless voice minute prices down to 5 euro cents a minute in Austria and mobile broadband used heavily I haven't heard anybody complain about losses.