According to a new IDC study, the number of PC data combo cards in Europe is expected to grow from 1.2 million in 2004 to more than 5.7 million in 2008, with a CAGR of 47.8%. In 1Q04, major mobile operators such as Vodafone and T-Mobile started with a "business only" UMTS/GPRS mobile data card service. Now, there are more than 10 mobile operators that offer mobile data services across Western Europe.
In 2003, most PC data card sales were GPRS/GSM combo and some UMTS/GPRS/GSM combo cards. As the market is still in the introductory phase, prices are expected to be adjusted as competition increases. However, the price model that operators are currently using is based largely on the mobile worker (mainly business users) paying per data byte used. Prices of operators in different countries range from $90 to $160 per month for "unlimited" use (mostly with a maximum of
1GB per month), with an additional charge for the PC data card of around $160-$220, excluding VAT. Most operators do offer cheaper package options depending on the number of bytes included in the package, and the price of card also varies, depending on the package. Data consumed above the package is priced per additional MB.
According to Romolo Pusceddu, research manager for IDC's European Mobile and WiFi Infrastructure service, operators are starting to realize the need to focus all their efforts on marketing and selling data services as the way to go in the future. It is all about integration - users are not concerned about the technology behind it, as long as it is available, low priced, fast, secure, and easy to use.
The study, Western European Mobile Access PC Data Card 2004-2008 Forecast and Analysis, IDC #31860, September 2004), focuses on wireless combo PC data cards, including technologies such as HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, and WLAN. 1H04 vendor share figures are presented for the Western European market.
Vendors' market shares are calculated according to wireless PC data card units shipped. The study also provides a PC data card market forecast for 2004 to 2008 for the number of PC data cards by country, technology, and installed base.