Smart phone uptake driving industry growth
The global mobile sector is being driven by a rapidly changing market led by consumer demand, handset saturation and the demand for faster-speed technologies. Competition in the industry is driving the market to a lower dollar value return on a user basis. This is being compensated by more data use on a variety of mobile devices and growth in the emerging machine-to-machine (M2M) market.
With the mobile handset market being driven by smartphone uptake; both mobile broadband and the use of over-the-top applications is increasing. This in turn is depriving the mobile network operators from their traditional income streams. Mobile voice calls have now reached their peak and will start a slight level of ongoing decrease over coming years.
It has become acknowledged that the amount of spectrum needed to satisfy people’s demand from mobile phones, tablets and soon a range of other smart devices is going to be limitless. Mobile carriers are scrambling for spectrum, but it is already known that the spectrum that will become available from the digital dividend (i.e. reuse of broadcast spectrum) will not be enough.
The mobile industry has already fallen behind in delivering the capacity needed today, let alone coping with the enormous growth ahead; and this situation will deteriorate before it improves. A major concern is that there is no clear industry road map for the future. There is some clarity in relation to the backhaul technologies, but the end-user access problem is still far from reaching a resolution.
All of these developments will eventually lead to a structural separation between the infrastructure and the services. Once operators start to think along these structurally separated business models, solutions to the mobile infrastructure crisis will become much easier to realise.
In the interim, it is important for the industry to focus back on improving the customer experience. This is becoming increasingly important to service differentiation and retaining customers in this competitive and economic environment is challenging. Bearing in mind that the cost of acquiring customers is expensive; reducing churn rates can offer significant savings to telcos.
In addition, lowering roaming charges also encourages goodwill at both a regulatory and consumer level and lessens the chance of bill-shock. To improve the customer experience it is essential that the service and available data information is of the highest possible quality and real-time processing developments can assist with this. There is currently a lack of high customer expectation in telecoms market as a whole – and much can be down to improve this situation.
BuddeComm’s new report, Global Mobile Communications – Statistics, Trends and Regional Insights, provides important insights into the worldwide mobile communications industry and includes trends, analyses, statistics and unique regional insights for North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The report provides a valuable overview of the global mobile communications industry including key statistics such as global and regional subscriptions; mobile services revenue; ARPU; CAPEX and churn. It also includes a global overview of handset, smartphone and touchscreen tablet trends and statistics. It provides insights into the key drivers and challenges facing the industry in 2013. Please note: Mobile broadband is covered in detail in a separate annual publication.
Examples of key insights:
- Mobile subscriptions (including multiple subscriptions) are expected to reach around 6.9 billion in 2013 – with the market share of consumers using smart phones to also reach around 18%, the equivalent of around 1.3 billion users. There is still much potential growth ahead for smart phone uptake.
- Despite its phenomenal growth – which will continue for many years to come – the smartphone is set to eventually become a utility product.
- The difference between the fixed and the mobile network will become increasingly blurred, with mobile handsets simply being devices wirelessly connected to the fixed network. These developments will stimulate Fixed-Mobile Conversion (FMC).
- Regulatory interventions are driving the continuing decline of Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) around the world, which have been in decline since at least 2005.
- It is expected that 2013 and 2014 will see a positive growth in mobile infrastructure spend as carriers are forced to upgrade and deploy new networks to cope with demand.
- By 2017 around 45% of mobile traffic is expected to be offloaded from Wi-Fi or fixed.
- The top mobile operator worldwide in terms of connections is China Mobile, followed by Vodafone Group.
- The costs of acquiring a customer have grown along with the increase in smart phone uptake. Subsidising handsets is an expensive exercise and it is has become even more important for the telcos to retain the customer once they are on board.
- Roughly 80% of Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) mobile market is served by five multinational operators: América Móvil, Telefónica, Telecom Italia, Millicom, and Digicel. América Móvil is the leader, followed by Telefónica. Between them, these two operators serve 61% of the region’s mobile subscribers.
- Smartphone adoption rising sharply in Africa.
- In Australia smart device penetration exceeds 90% for GenY users.
- Mobile markets in Asia continued to experience strong growth during 2012 and into 2013, despite many countries in the region having subscriber penetrations of over 150%.
- Lagging growth, regulatory pressure to reduce rates and a focus on mobile broadband and operational inefficiencies point to a maturing Middle East market.
- European MNOs at forefront of VoLTE developments.
- LTE networks in Europe to benefit from spectrum releases.
- The wireless market in North America has benefited from the region’s gradual economic recovery in recent quarters.
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