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Mobile broadband adoption finally here?

It is no secret that 3G uptake has been pretty disappointing for operators and bemoaning the slow uptake of mobile broadband and content has become a theme for 2006.

But industry analyst Jupiter Research thinks that the trend might change in 2007, thanks to a renewed drive by the operator community.

Ealier this week Vodafone promised to put 24 HSDPA-enabled 3G devices on the shelves by Christmas, a number of which are targeted at the mass market and will have a smaller price tag. Crucially, all the devices will be geared towards Vodafone’s Live! portal and the quick access of online content.

Meanwhile, at the 3GSM Asia conference in Singapore, the GSM Association made two pitches for bringing 3G to the masses.

Spearheading the GSMA’s ‘3G for All’ campaign, 12 mobile operators spanning six continents pledged to drive down the cost of WCDMA handsets with the aim of stimulating adoption in both developed and undeveloped markets.

In the first phase of the campaign, the 12 operators will select a flagship 3G handset designed to appeal to the mass market. Handset vendors have been invited to submit proposals for an advanced 3G device that costs significantly less than a low end 3G device today.

Secondly, the GSMA published guidelines prescribing a common approach for PC manufacturers to fully integrate HSDPA 3G functionality into their product ranges. The Association expects high speed mobile broadband will soon become a standard feature of notebook PCs, offering connectivity and roaming across global mobile networks.

Jupiter Research analyst, Sharon Armbrust, said that the ability to sample content enjoyably -which is a proven lead in to purchasing – “could gain speed pretty quickly in 2007” based on the flurry of recent initiatives from the GSM fraternity and assorted vendors and carriers with fast-tracked projects for enterprise and consumer markets.

“If the enabled devices continue to multiply at the rate they have been introduced in recent weeks and phone manufacturers keep improving on the one click interfaces that get subscribers to the mobile internet and video malls with ease – sometimes by mistake – we’re betting the uptick in consumption won’t be that far behind,” she said.

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