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October 31, 2008

Bursting the mobile broadband bubble

LONDON, UK – The invisibility and seamlessness of mobile services and devices may be some way off , yet one of the key ingredients in bringing us closer to this vision of unconsciously intuitive mobile experiences is the rapid evolution of mobile broadband and bullet-speed over-the-air connectivity. But is this key ingredient ripe enough yet to step up and take centre stage on the road to the next-gen mobile world?

While mobile broadband has been kicking around for several years now and has recently begun to gallop with the emergence of HSDPA technology, it seems that it’s still far from maturity. A new report today from UK network O2 has found that more than one in ten users feel they have been mis-sold by the products, sparking the question of where the responsibility should lie for this experience – is it the operators, the manufacturers, the folk behind Internet services and apps, or all of the above?

Breaking down the stats further, there are some interesting figures. Almost a third say they are having to pay more per month than they were initially led to believe, no doubt contributing to a lack of confidence, which undoubtedly results in many not behaving freely with the service. 20 per cent were also upset that they were unable to use mobile broadband where they wanted it, despite being told by providers that there would be coverage. That’s a pretty large slice of dissatisfaction right there, but it’s a challenge that needs addressing to ensure we’re all able to exploit the full potential of our devices and continue to improve our mobile lives in the process.

It’s never about simply creating the fastest services, it should be about developing the most robust, easy to use, and innovative approaches that help the technology fade into the background. Clarity and education on what’s possible and what to expect is important, but of course so is the experience and end product for us as daily users.

It almost goes without saying that mobile connectivity is improving in the UK and across the world, and I for one am attempting to enjoy the fruits of this on-the-go broadband bounty via Internet connected apps and services. But I’m equally aware, as this report echoes, that there are holes that need plugging and experiences (both negative and positive) that require highlighting and understanding.

What sort of experience have you had with mobile broadband in your country?

Photo from Murky1