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Up to half of all mobile broadband customers could switch providers in the next 12 months, a study has indicated.

Research conducted by Ovum revealed that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of global consumers have decided to change to a different operator.

A similar number are considering switching provider in the next year, meaning there are clear customer attrition risks for telecoms firms.

Ovum found that the quality of the mobile broadband experience is the leading driver for churn. Some 37 per cent of respondents said they have left a provider - or plan to switch in future - due to slow connection speeds.

Angel Dobardziev, Practice Leader at Ovum, said being online is "by far the most important thing in consumers' digital media lives".

"When we asked consumers to rate a range of activities on a scale from ‘essential’ to ‘unimportant’, browsing the web came top, with nearly six out of ten consumers rating it as essential."

Ovum's finding about consumer intentions will alarm many broadband providers, but it may be welcomed by some - not least those moving into the mobile market.

BT, for instance, is set to launch UK mobile broadband services in the coming months, as it gears up to introduce quad-play bundles.

With many consumers looking to switch operators - or at least contemplating a move - BT will be confident of picking up new subscribers from its rivals.

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