We're big fans of mobile broadband around here at Lifehacker, and judging by usage numbers, we're far from alone. However, that popularity can have a downside: if the services turn out not to be profitable, they could become much more expensive quite quickly.
Picture by zanastardust
That issue is highlighted in a recent market analysis by Telsyte, which underscores what you might already suspect: there's not a lot of money to be made from people paying $50 a month or less (often much less) for mobile bandwidth. As Telsyte puts it:
Demand for mobile data bandwidth – and thus the cost of delivering services to support it – is rising much faster than revenue, creating a growing gap that threatens to undermine the future profitability of carriers’ mobile data business. Telsyte analysis shows that that the cost of delivering mobile data services in Australia in the next five years will grow by more than five-fold while revenue will less than double.
Depending on your carrier, you might already be experiencing the unpleasant side of this equation: either higher per-megabyte prices, or much less reliable service. None of that's to say that mobile broadband is going to go away, but it's worth bearing in mind when you're selecting your next plan.