According to a recently published study, 37 percent of consumers who formerly accessed internet content on their PCs have switched to smartphones and tablets for that activity. As a result, smartphone and tablet subscribers who use their mobile devices for web browsing now stand at 61 percent and 53 percent, respectively. Both are closing in fast on the proportion of people who still browse the web via their PCs, which is now down to 75 percent.
Recent studies like this one confirm a trend we have been seeing among mobile subscribers – specifically, that in growing numbers they are using smartphones and tablets as their primary devices for mobile internet use while showing proportionately less interest in getting mobile broadband for PCs and laptops. What we find noteworthy at the moment is that this trend ought to be having a greater effect on pricing than it is. Tarifica’s latest European Mobile Benchmark Report found that MNOs are pricing both types of broadband access at roughly comparable levels. At the low end of the market, the average price is €8.14 per gigabyte for PCs and laptops, as against €8.83 for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). At the high end, the average is €12.10 per gigabyte for PCs and laptops versus €12.03 for mobile devices
In our view, this parity is a mistake. We believe operators should be pricing broadband access on mobile devices at a higher level, while lowering the price for such access on PCs and laptops, or at the very least keeping them the same. Since demand among mobile device users is strong, we feel price increases are both justified and attainable. Conversely, lowering broadband prices for PCs and laptops could stanch, or at least slow, the rate of attrition among subscribers, thereby extending that revenue stream for some time to come.