Mobile broadband and wireline broadband services are focal points industry-wide these days, as they should be. They represent the lion’s share of the future of the business. But, in the minds of consumer’s, which is more valuable? New research from Strategy Analytics indicates that wireline broadband access continues to be subscribers’ primary and most highly valued Internet channel. Forty-eight percent of Americans would drop their mobile data plan completely as they look to scale back household expenditures. Only 10% would drop their home broadband subscriptions, according to Strategy Analytics’ research.

Twelve percent of Americans said they would drop their pay-TV service completely, while 41% stated they would scale the service back to a lower tier given the opportunity under the same scenario, according to the report. “Given the extraordinary importance consumers place on home broadband, we fully expected broadband to have a high ‘keep rate,'” said Ben Piper, director of Strategy Analytics Multiplay Market Dynamics Service. “What surprised us was the vulnerability of mobile services.”

Completed early this month, Strategy Analytics surveyed 1,110 household decision makers regarding their multi-play spending intentions over the next year, the impact of the economy on household entertainment purchases, and the relative importance of each component of multi-play service bundles that provide broadband, digital TV, fixed voice, mobile voice and mobile data service in one package, according to the research firm.

“These results suggest that, while American consumers consider home broadband service to be a vital utility, they see mobile data service as simply a ‘nice to have,'” David Mercer, vice president of Strategy Analytics’ Digital Consumer Practice, commented.

Perhaps this view is somewhat skewed since wireline broadband is a more mature, well penetrated service than mobile broadband. While it may be a ‘nice to have’ service now, we suspect that as consumers get used to their iPhone, Palm Pre, and/or 3G/4G capable netbooks, ‘nice to have’ will transition to ‘must have.’ We’ll have to wait and see if that ‘must have’ transition will come at the expense of the value associated with wireline broadband. The reality probably revolves around ‘broadband everywhere.’ Consumers will come to expect that and will probably lose sight of whether its mobile or wireline. It just better be there.

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