SMBs Driving Mobile Broadband Adoption
The market is still in its infancy, but small businesses are deploying mobile gadgets faster than big enterprises because they can be easily purchased from commercial outlets.
Small to medium businesses are adopting mobile broadband at a faster rate than large enterprises, according to a study published this week from ABI Research.
The study, entitled "United States Mobile Business Customer Profiles," said one of the key drivers to adoption s the familiarity with data access from PCs and laptops, and mobile broadband makes this access easier on the road. While the deep pockets and IT departments of large businesses make them ripe for mobile broadband, SMBs are implementing it faster because there is no "distribution favoritism" toward business customers. For example, a small business owner can easily purchase mobile broadband devices and services from commercial retail and electronics outlets.
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"The significance of mobile broadband is that it adds complexity to the use and purchase of all mobile services," said principal analyst Daniel Shey in a statement. "But even mobile broadband will see complexity through different device purchasing patterns by customer segments, ranging from USB modems through laptops to UMPCs [ultra-mobile personal computers] and MIDs [mobile Internet devices], and 3G handsets."
ABI said the mobile broadband market is still in its infancy, but it expects the industry to grow steadily. The global economic slowdown may makes businesses cut back on some expenditures in the immediate future, but workforces are expected to become increasingly mobile. To help with adoption, AT&T and Lenovo recently began offering companies subsidized laptops if they signed up for a two-year data plan.
But implementing mobile broadband can still be tricky for businesses, as 3G is still not fully deployed, and the next generation of services -- WiMax and LTE -- are right around the corner. InformationWeek analysts have compiled a report on the benefits of wireless broadband for the enterprise, it can be downloaded here.