Use of 3G doubles in past year

10 Jun 2008

The number of users of 3G mobile services in the EU doubled to 112 million in the year to April 2008, the GSM Association has revealed.

Increased market penetration and lower prices have driven growth in the EU’s mobile data market (internet, email and multimedia, excluding SMS) to €7bn, a growth of 40pc, research for the association by AT Kearney found.

The cost of 3G services, 3G handsets, 3G-enabled laptops and dongles that enable laptops to connect to mobile broadband networks is falling steadily. In some European markets, mobile broadband services are now priced lower than comparable fixed-line broadband services, the GSM Association said.

AT Kearney estimates that the average retail price of data roaming, which enables travellers to access multimedia services using a mobile phone or laptop, fell by 25pc in the year to April 2008 in the EU. It also said EU data roaming traffic grew 75pc over the same period.

“Competition, including from Wi-Fi, is delivering dramatic reductions in the retail price of data services, which gives mobile users the convenience of being able to access email, the internet and other multimedia services wherever they travel within Europe,” said Tom Phillips, chief government & regulatory affairs officer, GSM Association.

“We expect prices to continue to fall as operators further innovate around tariffs and more and more Europeans use these services as a part of their everyday lives.”

Bu Niall Byrne