Broadband and the World

IT Insights |  Mobile & Wireless

This Week's Highlighted Research:

MetaFacts, Inc., "Consumers Pull the Plug on Standard Phone Lines"

Nielsen//NetRatings, "More than two thirds of online retail purchases are transacted via broadband, according to Nielsen//NetRatings"

Pioneer Consulting, "Software-Defined Radio-Altering the Wireless Value Chain"

Moving back and forth between my house in the Midwest, and my apartment in Bangkok always takes a little getting used to. Every winter, I go from eating steak and potatoes to tom yam goong; I go from subzero winters to tropical heat. I have to try to remember to take my shoes off before entering the apartment, and have to remember to not be too surprised when I occasionally see an elephant lumbering down the sidewalk. More to the point, I go from a fast broadband connection to a dial-up.

And it's not a dial-up like in the US, where you pay $15 a month for all-you-can-eat access. You have to buy prepaid cards good only for a certain number of hours. You can buy broadband here, but only after filling out far too much paperwork for two separate companies, and then waiting about three months. But although broadband hasn't reached the mainstream in much of the Far East, it certainly has in the US and most of Western Europe.

This week, I look at a MetaFacts Inc. report on broadband. In "Consumers Pull the Plug on Standard Phone Lines" MetaFacts makes note of the fact that with the rising use of cell phones and broadband, more homes are dropping their traditional hardwired phone. With legislation that allows home users to move their landline numbers to their wireless phones, the trend will inevitably continue. MetaFacts reports that the number of homes with PCs and no landline phone has increased 60 percent since 2002.

It will be equally interesting to see how this same market plays out in the future in major Asian cities, where cell phones are extremely popular. Here in Bangkok, virtually everyone has a cell phone. The mall near my apartment must have at least two dozen cell phone vendors, all lined up next to one another, and they're all busy. And people don't want just ordinary cell phones, either. Dinner with the in-laws yesterday was fun, besides my trying to show off my ability to eat spicy Isaan food (and secretly swilling Pepto-Bismol after I got home), Uncle enjoyed showing off his new toy for everyone to see; a brand new cell phone with all the bells and whistles, including camera.

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