vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
Countdown to 2019 and win big with the HEXUS Epic Giveaway [x]
facebook rss twitter

3G dongles in decline?

by Scott Bicheno on 21 September 2011, 15:57

Tags: YouGov

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa7du

Add to My Vault: x

Evolutionary blind alley

Market researcher YouGov has released its latest look at mobile broadband use in the UK. The key finding of the report is that people who use mobile computing devices with integrated 3G - mainly tablets - use mobile broadband significantly more than those using 3G dongles.

80 percent of 3G tablet owners use their device on a weekly basis, says YouGov, although it's not clear whether mobile broadband specifically is referred to. This compares to 60 percent of dongle owners. 3G tablet users also indulge in a wider variety of online activities on their devices - being much more likely to stream video, for example.

It stands to reason that integrated 3G, which in theory provides a seamless connectivity experience, is likely to be exploited more than a dongle. The table below shows that users with integrated 3G tend to spend more on their tariffs, presumably in anticipation of this greater use.

 

 

As tablets become more ubiquitous, and people come to expect this kind of integrated mobile broadband experience, it seems likely that dongles will be less appealing and thus will sell less.

Juniper research reckons tablet shipments will reach 55 million by the end of this year, and 253 million units by 2016. Gartner, meanwhile, predicts total PC sales of 364 million this year and 404 million in 2012. It also reckons half of those will have integrated mobile broadband.

If we guess that PC numbers will hit, say, 600 million by 2016, then the tablet market will be almost half the size of the PC one. Windows 8 tablets will be well-established by then, and it's starting to look like people are equating ultra-mobile computing with tablets. This looks like bad news for the dongle market.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
I wish all 3g providers would provide a alternative to dongles. my mate has been through at least 5 dongles during the time he has had 3g. would prefer an addon card for laptops and desktops without 3g connectivity. its less likely for an addon card to get knocked. I also hope pay as you go tariffs get changed soon. I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.
lodore
I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.
Hmm, I agree with what you're saying - especially if there was a way to ensure that they didn't terminate the number if you didn't use it for 60/90/whatever days. I got a T-Mobile dongle two years ago and it was pretty good value in PAYG form. And I was really impressed when I managed to actually use it in a cottage in the middle of Wales. Unfortunately, I forgot about the inactivity clause - so now I've got a dead dongle. I must get around to checking if there's a cheap/easy way to get it reactivated…

I think we're only going to see some sense in the market if the supermarkets get involved and start putting some real downwards pressure on the prices.

Second interesting point about that dongle (Huawei) - it was an absolute pig to get working on the two Windows XP systems. On the other hand when I tried it on Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook, the system just popped up a dialog box asking me what carrier I was on, then the account details, and away I went - real plug n play. ;)

Getting back to the article - maybe dongles would bounce back if someone figured out a way to use them with slotless tablets - e.g. some form of docking connector addon for iPad, software support for Android tablets (most of which seem to have USB provision). Certainly it seems to me to be a bit of a missed opportunity on the part of the manufacturers.
lodore
…. I also hope pay as you go tariffs get changed soon. I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.
Indeed. I'd buy one for a start, for occasional use when away for a few days. But not under the current system.
I suspect some of the drop in usage is down to WIFI being far more available and less people signing up for netbook/dongle contracts after being suckered in by the salesmen.

Saracen
Indeed. I'd buy one for a start, for occasional use when away for a few days. But not under the current system.

Vodafone used to have a dongle that did just that. I have clients who still have some of the original data package left on it two years later. :D I think Vodafone lost a ton of money on them so stopped doing them.

I'm in the same boat as you, though now I use Three I can at last tether my iPhone to my laptop for free.
Why the fixation with tablets? Surely smartphones, with a much larger market, play more of a part in relegating dongles to the junk drawer?

I can use mine to let a tablet, netbook, my friends devices and anything else with wifi connect over 3G. Android 2.2 introduced a wireless hot spot app, others had been doing it for ages on their rooted devices. Then you have regular tethering too. The vast majority of those with the need for a dongle already have a smartphone, ergo, sales of dongles will drop.