They are the success story of 2008 so far, and Mobile broadband dongles are now being predicted to potentially oust WiFi Hotspots as the preferred method of accessing the internet in the next few years!
The market for USB dongles is on fire at the moment, with sales apparently set to incrase up to 4x in the next three years, as price erosion and settlement occurs in the market – of course there comes a point where the convenience of having truly portable internet access outweighs the hassle of having to find an available hotspot …..
The Infonetics Research “Mobility: Broadband, Phones, Subscribers and Services” report predicts that the mobile data card market will quadruple in size from 2007 and 2011, giving a predicted subscriber base of 144 million by 2011!
Apparently the keys to this becoming the case will be the accessibility of data plans to all customer segments, and the ongoin HSPA rollouts being managed by the networks.
Comment: my view is the expansion of this market will be driven by both early adopters (yes, you know who you are), but also those business users, who absolutely have to have net access wherever they may be (that would be the same group who have BlackBerries for their email, and talk very loudly in Starbucks, no?) – however with the dirt-cheap prices being offered (certainly in the UK anyway), then the transition to mass-market product has already begun in my opinion. Now, if they can just cure the problem of that little 20cm cable that plugs the modem in to the USB port, everyone will be happy 😉