This weekend I ran the results of a poll suggesting that respondents in the United States were more interested in potential netbook features touchscreens, dual core processors, and discrete graphics cards than integrated 3G modems.

Some people were surprised at the results, but not me. You know why? Because 3G data plans in the US are expensive, costing $40 to $60 a month. And that’s typically on top of the money you already pay for home internet service and a mobile phone voice plan. In other words, you could wind up paying a $100/month to your wireless service provider (for your mobile phone and 3G netbook plan) and $50 or so a month to get broadband internet access at home.

I think as long as customers have to pay full price for each internet service plan, it’s going to be hard to convince them to add new services. But what if you could get 3G service letting you use your netbook on the go for $10 above and beyond the price of your home DSL or cable modem plan? Or as an extra charge tacked onto your existing mobile phone bill?

That’s what the analysts at Light Reading Insider think could happen. They’ve put out a $900 report on the impact of netbooks on mobile broadband, but you can read some of the highlights for free. What do you think? Do you expect mobile carriers to bundle services and bring down the costs in the hopes of signing up new customers? Or do you think they’ll try to milk the separate revenue streams for as much as they can?

via I4U

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8 replies on “Analysts: Netbooks could lead to wired/wireless internet service bundles”

  1. Actually mobile bandwidth is very expensive for various reasons: license cost, equipment, high fixed costs etc… so operators can’t really reduce the prices for the subscriber unless they get a lot of users that don’t use a lot of bandwidth. The details are explained here:
    Operators need to get more 3G users but at the same time need to charge high prices and restrict used bandwidth to avoid saturating their networks. Bundling a netbook is a way to sweeten the deal that doesn’t impact the mobile network.

    1. So they hope. But 3G phones can’t really do much P2P traffic or HD video. A netbook can do both. It will also prove impossible to restrict tethering with a netbook. That only leaves their willingness to harshly enforce the bandwidth caps. The trick will be to avoid splashy sob stories hitting the mass media about thousands of people being hit with $10,000 charges when some Microsoft worm hits a bunch of these XP infested netbooks.

      I really thought the wireless carriers would be bright enough to avoid getting tangled up with Microsoft and it’s problems. But clearly I was mistaken on that score since several XP preloads are being bundled already.

  2. I am connected at work, I am connected at home and I am connected at places with hot spots. Do I really need/want to be connected everywhere? Where do you sign up for Internet users anonymous?

    1. Don’t forget that many of us live in places without wifi everywhere. I don’t have wifi at work, or at many of the businesses I visit. I also travel frequently. Mobile broadband is very appealing to me. Hopefully, as these plans become more common the price will drop. I believe that the current pricing reflects the fact that most mobile broadband customers are corporate, and don’t care how much the service costs.

      1. I’m missing your point. The places without Wifi everywhere don’t tend to offer much 3G service either.

        You are probably right about most subscribers being corporate users now. It is too expensive and too bandwidth capped to get much interest from many normal folk.

        Without the harsh caps and tethering rules you would see people abandoning the fixed connection and just using the 3G much like landline phones are quickly going the way of the Dodo. But the spectrum available just won’t carry the traffic currently carried by the fixed broadband links so 3G will always be priced with that fact in mind.

        1. > “I’m missing your point. The places without Wifi everywhere don’t tend to offer much 3G service either.”

          I don’t know if it’s my life style or the fact that I live in Alabama, but I frequently find myself in situations without wifi–waiting rooms of various kinds, parking lots waiting on my wife, campgrounds, etc. Last week I was waiting for a Firestone shop to finish with my car, and they had a wired network. Luckily I was able to surf using wifi from a nearby stereo store 🙂

          There’s 3G all over the place down here, except maybe some of the swampier areas (we have lots of buildings and highways, too :), and there are Starbucks everywhere, but I don’t hang out there much, and you have to buy one of their gift cards and register it, etc.

          I would love to have 3G on my netbook, but it would just be for fun and entertainment, so I’m not willing to pay $60 a month for it.

  3. Mentioning adding a service for $10 over the cost of existing service is a little hopeful, no?
    My experience has always been that adding a service in a bundle means maybe getting a discount of $10 off the extra service. So instead of paying $60 + $50 for $110, you pay $60 + $50 – $10 for $100.

  4. Skim the cream first by any/all means. Its a telecommunications industry tradition.
    I am not throwing any stones this time, I once was one of the cream-skimming decision makers.

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