It is personal wireless users, rather than business, who are focused on nomadic usage. With 70% of Wireless Network Interface Cards selling for under25 and the average price of a Wireless Router down to just over 60, the affordability of establishing a Wireless oasis at home has been an enormous lure to consumers. GfK reports that 62% of Wireless Routers were sold though Retail channels in Q1 05, which has grown to over 75% in Q1 06. Likewise, according to GfK, 78% of Wireless Network Interface Cards are selling in Retail channels in Q1 06, compared to 63% in Q1 05.
Conversely, it is business users who are still the main users of mobile wireless technology, using 3G Mobile Data Cards. The first quarter of 2006 has seen a 580% increase on the first quarter of 2005 in the sales of 3G Mobile Data Cards, up to nearly 30,000 units and worth 1.7 million. However, the cost of the Mobile Data Card hardware as well as the substantial tariffs remains prohibitive for consumers. This is reflected by the vast majority of sales, reported by GfK at 98%, of Mobile Data Cards remaining in the Business channels, such as IT Mail Order, Telecoms Specialists and Office Equipment retailers, rather than Consumer channels.
Jean Littolff, IT Business Group Director, GfK, said:
Although there has been an explosion of retail purchase of Mobile wireless data access in the beginning of 2006, the trend is very much upon the equipment allowing Nomadic wireless data usage. This is not to say the possibilities for nomadic usage are problem free. Vendors have done a great job selling wireless technology, but this is of no benefit if the users are unaware how to utilise the technology. To see growth rates continue in such a strong upwards direction, we also need to see the infrastructure behind the technology improve at a similar rate.