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Mobile Broadband Usage Skyrockets
March 4, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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Mobile computing has come a long way from its inception. Remember those monochrome pocket organizers from back in the day? They were cool for their time, but didn't do much more than store phone numbers and plan next week's events. If you spent a few bucks extra, you might get a model that told you what time zone Moscow is in. Wireless Internet at that time was nothing more than a pipe dream, but those funky Casio pocket organizers were a sure sign of things to come.

Today, mobile computing has grown beyond its novelty concept origins and into something vital for many businesses. For a time, PDAs (Personal Desktop Assistants) were the king of the mobile computing world, especially during the 90s. PDAs such as the Palm Pilot and its ilk were hot selling items, until the cell phone became an essential technology for many during the turn of the millennium. The cell phone killed off the PDA within a matter of years, as the cell phone grew out of its primitive state and took over every role the PDA was capable of. In some ways, the PDA isn't really dead; rather its functionality was absorbed and expanded by the cell phone - which we now call the Smartphone. It could be argued the iTouch, which is basically an iPhone without the phone, is a PDA of sorts.

To many, mobile computing is useful only if the device is Internet capable. Even MP3 players and digital cameras are becoming WIFI capable. Otherwise, many find that without network capability, modern devices aren't worth the silicon they're printed on. Having Internet access is vital to so many that millions are signing up with mobile broadband providers to guarantee instantaneous connectivity - even at a premium.

According to the latest study from Comscore, the number of computers accessing the Internet via mobile broadband skyrocketed 154% from 2006 to 2007. Mobile broadband isn't cheap either. Verizon, who provides one of the largest mobile networks, charges just over $61 a month for mediocre DSL-like speeds. The end user is capped at 5 gigabytes of throughput a month - so P2P and BitTorrent can only be used judiciously. Verizon rolled out a new pricing package late last month, which is about $39.99 for only 50 megabytes of throughput. What anyone can do with 50 megabytes a month, which equates to only 1.6 megabytes a day, is anyone's guess.

The study found that those in the higher income brackets were the one most likely to take advantage of mobile broadband. Those earning $50k-$75k made up 27.9% of the market, while those earning over $100k made up 36.1% of the market.

Although mobile broadband is still in its infancy, the number of those connecting via mobile devices is increasing dramatically. There were only ~850,000 computers utilizing mobile internet in 2006, while in 2007, that number jumped to over 2 million. With prices likely to fall in the coming months and years, the number jumping on the mobile Internet bandwagon will continue to climb.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Studies/Research

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