O2 Mobile Broadband

By: Matt Sharp

Of the 5 major mobile phone networks in the UK, up until recently only one of them wasn't offering mobile broadband. That was O2, but now they HAVE started to sell it. But... why have they dropped the ball with it?
Mobile Broadband - why is it really that important?
To understand why their business decision (which we'll come to in a bit) is, I feel, not a great one, you need to understand, first of all, exactly what mobile broadband is, and why it's a good thing. Put simply, mobile broadband is broadband while you're mobile, broadband while you're on the move, out and about. You're not tied to your desk, you're free to use it wherever and whenever you find yourself. It's a case of fire it up and off you go! Just like mobile phones, mobile broadband will become a portable, mobile solution you take everywhere with you.


But it's not just about how portable it is, because it's not going to sell well unless it has 3 other very important factors: it needs to be easy, cheap and fast. Well, there are no worries with the speed, since mobile broadband can run anywhere up to 7.2Mbps, currently (and up to 14Mbps in future), depending on which network you're with. And as for being easy... well, consider that the setup time for a USB Modem, whoever you're with, is measured in minutes, and involves nothing more complicated than plugging it in and clicking yes, and you can see it really is a doddle to set up!
O2 Mobile Broadband - why it falls down
And then, there's value for money. A decent mobile broadband package needs to give you good value, too, and it's here where the O2 package falls down. ?20 per month, minimum. In a world where the networks' cheapest mobile broadband offerings range from ?10-15, O2's already priced themselves out of that fight.
Ah, but... there's a bigger reason why it's not going to take off and sell well. Their mobile broadband offering is only available to existing customers. In other words, you can only join up with O2 mobile broadband, if you're already on O2. That's a little bit of a letdown, to say the least, and it shows a bit of short-sightedness on O2's part. Which is a shame, when you consider what a god track record they have with mobile phones. On the strength of current evidence, though, it's probably best if they stick to them...

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