Industry Giants Unite to Deliver Mobile Broadband Future

GSMA partners with leading companies to deliver range of ready to run, easy to use Mobile Broadband devices

Today, 16 of the world’s best known IT and mobile companies have united behind a GSMA-led initiative to create a new category of always-connected Mobile Broadband devices, delivering a compelling alternative to WiFi. This will give consumers the freedom to get online on the move, while enabling operators to address a US$50 billion opportunity in both mature and emerging markets (Pyramid Research*).

In the first phase of this unprecedented initiative, mobile operators, PC manufacturers and chipset providers are uniting to pre-install Mobile Broadband into a range of notebook PCs that will be ready to switch on and surf straight out of the box in 91 countries across the world.

To support this initiative, the GSMA has created the Mobile Broadband service mark, a new global identifier which will help consumers easily identify the array of ‘ready to run’ Mobile Broadband devices. The Mobile Broadband service mark is backed by a global media spend of more than US$1 billion in the next year – evidence that the industry is serious about this proposition.

“Mobile Broadband is like a home or office broadband connection with one crucial difference: freedom. Freedom from hot spots, freedom from complexity and freedom from security concerns,” said Michael O’Hara, CMO of the GSMA. “Today, 16 of the world’s largest technology companies have committed to change the way people get online forever. This commitment is manifested in a service mark that we expect to see on several hundred thousand notebooks in the shops by the holiday season. The Mobile Broadband badge will assure consumers that the devices they buy will always connect – wherever Mobile Broadband is available – and that they can expect a high standard of simplicity and mobility.”

Integrating Mobile Broadband into notebook PCs is the first step in a wider strategy to deliver wireless Internet access and management to a whole range of previously unconnected devices – from cameras and MP3 players to refrigerators, cars and set-top boxes. However, only devices that offer a truly un-tethered Mobile Broadband experience, such as those offered by the 16 companies announced in today’s program, will qualify to carry the new service mark.

Launch participants include 3 Group, Asus, Dell, ECS, Ericsson, Gemalto, Lenovo, Microsoft, Orange, Qualcomm, Telefónica Europe, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone – some of the world’s largest technology brands and operators serving more than 760 million connections (Wireless Intelligence).

“The Mobile Broadband initiative is a timely one in that it leverages the increasingly widespread availability of high-bandwidth networks in both developed and developing economies,” says Shiv K. Bakhshi, Ph.D., IDC director of mobility research. “While there will always be a place for WiFi connectivity, the great merit of Mobile Broadband might be that it liberates the user from the spatial tyranny of the so-called ‘hotspot.’ A Mobile Broadband solution, informed by close collaboration between PC makers, chipset vendors and mobile operators, should focus on appropriate optimization of the services and superior performance on the device, and consequently, a better user experience,” Bakhshi notes.

Today, more than 55 million people subscribe to Mobile Broadband services in 91 countries – a number expected to grow by four million per month by the end of 2008, according to Wireless Intelligence.

The Mobile Broadband mark promises a superior customer experience based on the latest technology available to deliver the highest standard of fully mobile connectivity. Products work out of the box and are fully integrated for maximum simplicity and supported by leading PC manufacturers such as Lenovo and Toshiba.

Supporting quotes:

3 Group
Christian Salbaing, Managing Director of European Telecommunications, 3 Group
 commented: “This is a logical step forward for Mobile Broadband. It supports our drive to make the mobile internet easier to use and better value for consumers. Our experience in selling over one million dongles in Europe is clear evidence of demand for well-priced, convenient Mobile Broadband. To grow the market we, as an industry, must continue to make Mobile Broadband more accessible, both through clear labeling such as this, and by reducing the charges consumers may face when roaming away from their own network so they can enjoy a truly mobile service.”

Eric Chen, Corporate Vice President, ASUS
 says: “With mobile broadband technology, ASUS can deliver its promise of borderless one-day computing with the EeePC and Notebook better than ever before, no longer bound to Internet hotspots. With 3.75G-builtin technology, users will be able to enjoy low latency Mobile Broadband Internet access at high downlink and uplink speeds regardless of where they are—ensuring a seamless connected experience on the go. Frequent travelers will particularly welcome the timely addition of 3.75G support, which comes as service providers around the globe are ramping up their adoption of 3.75G HSUPA. This means that they will be assured of a reliable, high-speed mode of Internet access in many destinations around the world.”

“Dell offers one of the widest portfolios of Mobile Broadband-ready devices because consumers demand technology that allows them to connect any place, any time. The GSMA Mobile Broadband initiative will make it easy for digital nomads to identify devices that allow them to surf the Web, chat with friends, keep updated on the latest news, share photos or connect with their social networks anytime, anywhere.” said John Thode, Vice President Small devices, Dell Consumer Group.

“For more than 20 years, ECS has been led by its ‘simply smart’ philosophy – making complex design simple and simply designed products smart. The GSMA’s Mobile Broadband initiative delivers a brand mark that will empower consumers with a simply smart choice of communication in new PC era, and we’re very proud to be associated with this unprecedented initiative,” said Robert Tsay, General Manager of Mobile Product Business Unit, ECS.

Torbjörn Possne, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing at Ericsson
 says: “We are excited about the current development in the area of Mobile Broadband. Many have started to enjoy the benefits of fast spreading HSPA networks and this cross-industry initiative forms a real “dream team” that will help consumers around the world to identify the right devices for true Mobile Broadband.”

“We at Gemalto support the GSMA’s Mobile Broadband initiative for the simple reason that it is in line with our strategy of helping operators open up their services to the PC/Internet environment. The use of the SIM within the individual’s PC serves to securely connect users to their operator’s range of services, thereby opening up new revenue streams such as VoIP, web services and advertising”, commented Michel Canitrot, Senior Vice President, Telecom Business Unit, Gemalto.

“Since the beginning of Mobile Broadband, we’ve been leading its integration into our ThinkPad business-class notebooks,” said Philippe Davy, vice president, strategic alliances and emerging products, Lenovo. “Mobile Broadband connectivity is critical to more and more of our customers who rely on it to conduct their business anytime, anywhere. Supporting one global brand just makes sense in helping customers easily identify ready-to-go Mobile Broadband notebook PCs and other devices.”

“A global brand for Mobile Broadband-enabled notebooks will eliminate confusion for consumers and increase the market opportunity for industry stakeholders,” said Michael Rawding, Vice President, Unlimited Potential Group, Microsoft. “Microsoft supports this cross-industry initiative as it will help to enable greater access to technology and mobility for our customers.”

Olaf Swantee, Executive Vice President of Orange Personal Communication Services
, commented: “At Orange we have witnessed a surge in appetite for Mobile Broadband. Ensuring that Mobile Broadband delivers on its promise of simple, reliable and efficient internet access on the move is an industry-wide challenge that this initiative tackles head-on. The Mobile Broadband label will deliver that quality assurance that customers’ demand, making access to Mobile Broadband and the freedom and flexibility that it delivers, a reality to many more.”

“The consumer desire to be connected all the time is driving the evolution of Mobile Broadband,” saidMike Concannon, senior vice president connectivity and wireless modules, Qualcomm Incorporated. “Having one common identity will aid consumer understanding and accelerate the adoption of this powerful technology. Qualcomm is delighted to work with these esteemed industry leaders who share our dedication to providing consumers with the best Mobile Broadband experience possible.”

“T-Mobile believes it is vital that consumers recognize Mobile Broadband as a reliable service that is easy to buy, set-up and use. This starts with one brand across the widest range of devices, which spells out the promise of Mobile Broadband, and illustrates the freedom and flexibility consumers expect from broadband on the move.”

“We fully support today’s GSMA initiative to create a common and easily recognizable brand mark which identifies notebook PCs and other portable devices that are Mobile Broadband-ready,” saysChristopher Schläffer, Product Innovation Officer, Deutsche Telekom & T-Mobile.

Telecom Italia
“Mobile Broadband notebooks are devices delivering full mobile Internet to consumers and enabling a convergent experience, innovation and affordability dynamics will be key as with mobile phones. The new Mobile Broadband brand mark is a milestone towards this new market and Telecom Italia’s TIM is at the forefront of this promising service opportunity.” said Luca Tomassini, EVP Business Innovation at Telecom Italia.

“Integrating HSPA into the mass market notebooks is strategically important for TeliaSonera”, saysClaes Nycander, Vice President of Common Development, TeliaSonera Mobility Services. “Mobile Broadband inside notebooks can provide our customers with superior ease of use. The Mobile Broadband service mark helps customers choose devices that are able to connect to services wherever they have cellular coverage. This initiative will definitely support the continued rapid growth of the Mobile Broadband market.”

“This GSMA initiative is going to make it much more straight-forward for consumers to immediately see what connectivity solutions are supported by the laptop they’re buying,” said Thomas Teckentrup, General Manager, Toshiba Computer Systems EMEA. “At Toshiba, our focus is on making life easier for the consumer. We’ve been doing this through features such as ConfigFree that make finding an online network and getting connected extremely simple. A harmonised brand approach to Mobile Broadband is a significant step forward in reducing customer confusion.”

Andrew Sangster, Director of PC Connectivity, Vodafone commented: “We have seen enormous uptake of Mobile Broadband and see this initiative as a further boost to its popularity. Initiatives that unite the Mobile Broadband community under a common identifier can only be good for the customer. Providing a single, simple point of reference for Mobile Broadband will ensure that the appropriate buying decision is made every time.”

– Ends –

Notes to Editors:
About Mobile Broadband

The Mobile Broadband ‘service mark’ represents the global standard for Mobile Broadband incorporating HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), HSPA Evolved and LTE (Long Term Evolution).

Key research findings*
The comprehensive study was commissioned by the GSMA and Microsoft and implemented by Pyramid Research. It involved more than 12,000 consumer interviews, as well as extensive input from manufacturers, component suppliers, chipset producers and over 200 field trials with mobile operators.

The key findings include:

  • In 2008, the survey estimates total demand of 79.5 million notebooks, worth some US$50 billion in 2008, for notebook PCs in the high growth, mass market $500 – $1,000 price range with built-in Mobile Broadband.
  • The survey indicates 88% of consumers planning to buy a notebook in this price-range would prefer Mobile Broadband built-in to notebooks to their original choice.
  • In 2008, OEMs are planning to ship some 33 million notebooks in this price range, only a fraction of which will be Mobile Broadband ready.

Other research highlights:

  • While most usage is in the home, the majority (78%) of respondents citied at least two other locations where they regularly used their notebooks.
  • 75% of consumers plan to buy notebooks in 9″ to 15″ range – very small or very large form factors are not driving purchasing influences.
  • 60% of consumers now want to buy a voice and data package from an operator with a Mobile Broadband notebook.
  • 57% of the demand comes from emerging Asia Pacific geographies, 15% from North America and 11% from Western Europe.

About the GSMA:
The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade group representing more than 750 GSM mobile operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association’s members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections – over 86% of the world’s mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.

For more information please contact:

Matt Simmons
GSM Association

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Richard Fogg/Paul Nolan/Daniel Lowther
Email: Phone : +44 (0)118 9207650