Just fewer than 25% of all people in Australia take advantage of some form of wireless broadband plans. The recent success of mobile broadband, combined with improvements in other wireless internet technology, are factors that have contributed to the number of individuals taking advantage of this method of accessing the internet. With the volume of mobile data being transferred around the country now exceeding that of voice, it seems that there is insufficient space for growth, with a lack of spectrum for mobile broadband plans having been made available. Although 4G and LTE technology may help to alleviate this problem, the cost of implementing these new mobile broadband plans could be reflected in an increase of the cost of contracts.

The fourth generation of mobile broadband, or 4G, promises much faster connection speeds, better coverage and an increase in the download limits that currently restrain us from enjoying mobile internet as much as we may. The constraints currently faced with 3G mobile broadband plans were the incentive for the next generation of technology to be hurried along in its development, causing many Australian telcos to search for funding for research and development.

Popularity of smartphones and other devices such as the new iPad from Apple that will allow access to 3G mobile broadband plans, along with freely available USB dongles and data cards, mean that more and more people each day are starting to connect to the World Wide Web on the move. With technology not set to slow down concerning these devices, we are inevitably going to see an increased level of traffic utilising Australia’s already stretched networks.

An analyst from the group Ovum recently spoke out on the issue, mentioning the strict download limits that we are subject to in Australia. Unlike the US, Europe and other countries that often offer their clients an unlimited data allowance, in Australia there is a close connection between the amount of data downloaded, and a company’s revenue. Once these download caps are removed, the mobile internet industry will be subject to an enormous growth in traffic, with the increase of revenue following some distance behind. To be successful therefore, the technology infrastructure must be adequate to deal with future high demand, costing customers more initially as the system is developed.

There is no doubt that mobile broadband plans are becoming an increasingly popular method to use to get online. Whether or not these plans will completely replace the fixed line DSL connections that we enjoy within our homes, just as broadband replaced our original dialup connections, remains to be seen, however with new technologies promising faster speeds and more reliable connections, the popularity of mobile internet connections can only increase.