Mobile net connections to surpass fixed lines by 2011

World with laptop, phone and desktop around it

Users' appetite for the mobile web is likely to ramp up in the next year or so, resulting in mobile broadband connections outpacing their fixed line counterparts.

So claims research by analyst mobileSQUARED who will tomorrow publish a new report dubbed 'Taking Internet Mobile: UK.

The number of active 3G devices in the UK will top 36.3 million by 2011, according to the research. These will be complemented by more than six million dongles and embedded devices, helping the overall number of mobile broadband connections to reach 42.7 million - just ahead of the 42.5 million fixed line users predicted to be around during the same time frame.

Actual internet use on mobile devices is likely to remain lower than on fixed lines during 2009-20014, according to the analyst. However, business use is already soaring, with between one and 10 per cent of a company's current web traffic believed to be coming from mobile devices.

"Mobile will become the primary access point for brands and businesses communicating with its consumers within two years," said Nick Lane, chief analyst at mobileSQUARED, and author of the report, in a statement.

"Mobile is always-on, and the average user carries their device for an average of 16 hours a day. So if a company or brand is not already considering how to use mobile, then they need to because their customers are."

More clarity when it comes to 3G data pricing could also help swell numbers, according to the report.

"Data pricing in the UK is still confusing. Mobile operators and high street retailers produce monthly magazines dedicated to handsets and tariffs, how can that not be confusing to the consumer? The number of mobile internet users would expand even faster if mobile data pricing reflected existing models, such as variable pricing to appeal to the different demographics," added Lane.

"The cash-poor, time-rich youth democratic cannot afford the flat-rata plans, so why not offer a data pricing concession to encourage adoption?"

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.