Today, the GSMA announced an initiative backed by operators, device suppliers, software firms and chipset vendors to drive awareness of mobile broadband connectivity embedded within computing devices such as notebooks. The initiative's primary focus is a graphic service mark bearing the words "Mobile Broadband" to be attached to notebooks and designed to help customers know which laptops are mobile-broadband enabled. The GSMA expects a global media spend of $1 billion around this service mark within the next year to create awareness of mobile broadband access.
ABI Research principal analyst Dan Shey comments, "HSPA broadband networks are firmly anchored in major metropolitan areas of Europe, North America and other parts of the developing world and are the foundation for pushing sales of devices with embedded cellular modems. But awareness of embedded mobile broadband has not been high, as operators are the main proponents of mobile broadband, primarily through sales of PC Cards and USB modems. This initiative is designed to raise awareness of devices with embedded cellular connectivity such as laptops, UMPCs, MIDs and eventually consumer electronics."
But is this initiative good for everyone? Says Shey, "This initiative poses the greatest challenges for operators. On one hand, more devices that are cellular enabled will create more opportunity to sell mobile broadband services. However, except for standard practices of bundling, offer design, and subsidization, it is unclear how operators will differentiate their mobile broadband services as more devices have embedded cellular connectivity. Subsidization is already one area operators would like to avoid but they also want to avoid competing based on price. Operators will need to think carefully about how mobile broadband will affect their businesses as mobile broadband devices become more widely available and achieve higher levels of consumer awareness."