UK's mobile broadband sales plummet, says website

Mobile broadband - not up to speed?
Mobile broadband - not up to speed?

A survey from one a British broadband comparison sites has suggested that sales of mobile broadband have crashed in the past year.

According to Broadband Expert, the number of people signing up for mobile broadband has more than halved in year on year figures – with suggestions that the quality of the service is to blame.

"Mobile broadband experienced phenomenal growth in the UK as consumers expected all the benefits of a home broadband connection whilst on the move," said Broadband Expert's commercial director Rob Webber.

"Sadly the technology has not lived up to the hype; we receive a huge amount of feedback from customers complaining of inconsistent or non-existent connections and speeds comparable to dial-up or worse."

Less search, less sign-up

Broadband Expert's figures show the number of sign ups dropping from 3,000 in May 2009 to 1,300 in May 2010, and cite Hitwise data that shows searches for the term 'mobile broadband' have halved

However, TechRadar understands that this pattern is not being seen by some networks who have suggested that sales are static rather than declining.

Webber insists that LTE – also known as 4G – could well provide fresh impetus for mobile broadband, but is frustrated by the slow roll out of networks.

"We're already seeing companies rolling out LTE networks in the US and Europe," he added, "but the UK is still 12-18 months away from this.

"LTE should boost mobile broadband speeds massively, with downloads speeds of over 100mbps achieved in testing; so it could outperform and even replace home broadband in the future.

"However, the UK needs to work faster to adopt the new technology required to reinstate consumer' faith in the mobile broadband service and help sales recover to their former level."

Of course, a number of other factors could be responsible, and it seems likely that networks will disagree with Broadband Expert's reasoning, so we'll update you with reactions.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.