This report provides 347 statistical tables covering the mobile communications and the rapidly evolving mobile data markets in the region. Mobile activities have undergone enormous changes in response to regulatory pressure on roaming and interconnection tariffs, competition from numerous new start-up MVNOs, and pressure on voice tariffs and bundled SMS offers which have lowered voice and data ARPU. Revenue growth in coming years will primary depend on the continued increase in subscriber numbers and the use of multiple SIMs, and by the further adoption of rich-media services including music downloads and mobile TV. The 3G subscriber base has shown extraordinary growth and, in coming years, it is expected that consumer reticence to use services will be overcome as operators introduce flat-rate charging models.
Researcher: Henry Lancaster
Current publication date: February 2008 (1st Edition)
Next publication date: December 2008
During 2007, the major pan-European operators - Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Orange - continued with business models that focussed on broadening their footprint across both Eastern and Western European countries, as well as branching out into other growth areas such as broadband. Vodafone in particular has endeavoured to align itself as a quad-play operator by buying the networks of broadband providers in markets such as
GSM networks continue to dominate the market, with more than 80 network operators in the EU, including operational in most European countries. There were also some 214 MVNOs operating in
Mobile penetration in
SMS still accounts for the bulk of data revenue, while less than 20% of subscribers use MMS/picture messaging and fewer still make use of mobile Internet and mobile TV despite numerous launches and promotions.
During 2007, most European mobile operators deployed or expanded EDGE and HSDPA networks in a bid to encourage consumer use of mobile broadband services and increase data ARPU. The number of content providers and the range of services on offer has expanded, making consumer involvement in mobile data a more likely proposition during the next few years. The EU suggested imposing regulatory limits on data roaming tariffs during 2008, which will dent operator revenue. This may not be all bad. Gaming, video and music portals are being progressively transferred to the mobile arena, and subscribers have become more aware of the capabilities of 3G services, but are also wary of the present high usage costs. By mid-2007, the 3G subscriber base on which mobile data growth depends approached 50 million, though providers have struggled to encourage subscribers to use services which are widely perceived as expensive and of uncertain value.
A range of potential mobile data services could be made available, including information on public transport systems, ringtones, games, directory enquiries, weather forecasts, voting services, share prices, horoscopes and logotypes. Typically, these are only provided to the operator’s own customers.
A key constraint limiting customer demand for mobile content and services has been the absence of content with sufficient drawing power to attract users onto a new platform. Ongoing work to develop gaming and handset customisation, as well as new services such as mobile video and TV services, has created a mass of content for operators such as Vodafone, Telefónica Moviles and O2. The Vodafone live! portal has become relatively popular, partly through having the scale and reach to leverage a compelling quantity of content into the service. Hutchison’s 3 has worked hard to develop similar content with media partners on a country-by-country basis.
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