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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 14, 2009

comScore: Mobile broadband hits slump

Q4 2008 saw the first slump for mobile broadband providers. As the bad news about the economy continued, consumers began heavily cutting back - and mobile broadband subscriptions were among the first cuts. According to a recent comScore report mobile subscribers grew only 5% for the quarter.

by Kristina Knight

In Q3 2008 mobile subscribers grew by 22%. In fact, research indicates that prior to the Q4 slowdown there were six consecutive quarters of double digit growth in the mobile arena.

"We've observed a significant deceleration in subscriber growth during Q4 2008 coinciding with the economic downturn, an indication that mobile broadband service may still be seen by many as a luxury rather than a necessity," said Serge Matta, comScore senior vice president.

PC data card users, however, continued to spend the same amount of time online (about 90 hours per week) as traditional Internet consumers. Consumers with data card and wired connections spent about 22 hours per month using a PC data card.

While this report is not an indicator that mobile is dying, it is a strong indication that consumers are now determining where they feel comfortable spending money and where they do not. With the more than 10% decline in new users it seems clear that consumers are willing to pay for wireless connections but not necessarily mobile connections; or at least not both at the same time.

Tags: comScore, mobile advertising, mobile broadband, mobile connections

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