At CeBIT, Vodafone Germany has revealed market pricing for their fast, Wide-area, HSDPA laptop service. Calling the plan "UMTS Broadband", Vodafone will charge 50 euros a month (US$60) for the service, saying that initial peak speeds will approach 1.8Mbps downstream (we have doubts about this, since the current HSDPA network in Korea is getting about 1Mbps). You may note the pricing is very similar to EV-DO or 3G WWAN pricing in the USA, but Vodafone is being more clear about their throughput caps than the US carriers, stipulating 5GB of traffic per month with 5 eurocents per KB above that. By saying "The new tariff is a genuine alternative to the fixed network", Vodafone Germany is positioning the HSDPA service to laptops as a competitor to DSL, but we would argue that the two are what economists call "imperfect substitutes" -- that is, both are similar, but each offers something the other cannot. DSL offers lower prices and essentially no throughput cap, while HSDPA will offer mobility. Some customers will prefer one over the other, while some will opt for both. But like Verizon's EV-DO in the USA, at $60/mo**, high-speed wireless seems to attract mobile professionals, but is out of reach for the majority of consumers. While HSDPA offers improved capacity to meet the needs of mobile businesspeople, we have already voiced our doubts whether it offers a significant enough improvement to alter the fixed broadband landscape. Correction: Sorry, my bad. 0.5 eurocents per KB on overages.
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