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GfK: Consumers Embrace Wireless

GfK research finds wireless technology is being increasingly embraced by consumers

May 17, 2006

2 Min Read

NURNBERG, Germany -- 2006 has seen an explosion of sales of equipment allowingNomadic wireless data usage by consumers, according to figures releasedtoday by leading market research firm GfK.

Sales of equipment for nomadic usage, allowing Internet access from Wi-Fihotspot to hotspot are booming. Wireless Routers saw a 108% increase in thefirst quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005. In total,380,000 units were sold, worth £24 million. Similarly, sales of WirelessNetwork Interface Cards increased by 87% to 525,000 units, worth £13million, in the same periods.

It is personal wireless users, rather than business, who are focused onnomadic usage. With 70% of Wireless Network Interface Cards selling forunder£25 and the average price of a Wireless Router down to just over £60,the affordability of establishing a Wireless oasis at home has been anenormous lure to consumers. GfK reports that 62% of Wireless Routers weresold 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 areselling in Retail channels in Q1 06, compared to 63% in Q1 05.

Conversely, it is business users who are still the main users of mobilewireless technology, using 3G Mobile Data Cards. The first quarter of 2006has seen a 580% increase on the first quarter of 2005 in the sales of 3GMobile 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 thesubstantial tariffs remains prohibitive for consumers. This is reflected bythe vast majority of sales, reported by GfK at 98%, of Mobile Data Cardsremaining in the Business channels, such as IT Mail Order, TelecomsSpecialists and Office Equipment retailers, rather than Consumer channels.

Jean Littolff, IT Business Group Director, GfK, said: "Although there hasbeen an explosion of retail purchase of Mobile wireless data access in thebeginning of 2006, the trend is very much upon the equipment allowingNomadic wireless data usage. This is not to say the possibilities fornomadic usage are problem free. Vendors have done a great job sellingwireless technology, but this is of no benefit if the users are unaware howto utilise the technology. To see growth rates continue in such a strongupwards direction, we also need to see the infrastructure behind thetechnology improve at a similar rate. "

GfK AG

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