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Telecom Growth Hinges on Mobile Data Apps

Analysys Mason forecasts that the worldwide telecommunications market will grow at a 6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $2.4 trillion in revenue by 2013. This growth will be driven primarily by mobile data service applications.

Communication service providers (CSPs) are launching 3G mobile networks in many emerging markets, such as China and India, and LTE technology will become available in most mature markets during the next few years. Analysys Mason predicts that mobile data traffic will grow at a 131 percent CAGR through 2013.

Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst at Analysys Mason, says "While mobile data presents the greatest revenue opportunity for operators, it could also be their biggest challenge. They must find ways to monetize that traffic so that all of the value doesn't go to device manufacturers, such as Apple and Nokia, and content owners. Flat-rate plans break the link between traffic and revenue, so are not a sustainable solution."

The report shows that CSPs have managed their costs successfully in a difficult environment. The global telecoms services market grew by 5 percent in 2008 to reach $1.8 trillion in revenue, despite the economic downturn. Even more encouraging was the year-on-year growth in EBITDA, which stood at a very impressive 10 percent.

Other key findings from their report include:

- Mobile services continue to be the leading source of revenue. Mobile voice services accounted for 36 percent of global service revenue in 2008, and mobile data services accounted for 10 percent, while traditional voice services represented only 21 percent.

- There are more than twice as many mobile subscribers in the world as there are traditional voice lines -- 4 billion versus 2 billion. In emerging markets, mobile services tend to account for an even larger share of service revenue -- up to 58 percent, in some cases.

- The mature markets of North America, Western Europe and developed Asia-Pacific accounted for 70 percent of global telecoms revenue in 2008, but the emerging markets registered greater growth rates.

- Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Central and Latin America, emerging Asia–Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe all achieved double­-digit revenue growth in 2008.

- The top-ten CSPs accounted for 44 percent of global revenue in 2008. All of the top-ten operators, except China Mobile, are based in mature markets, but their sources of revenue vary.

- AT&T, NTT, China Mobile and KDDI generate most of their revenue in their home markets, while Western European leaders Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, France Telecom, Vodafone and Telecom Italia have significant businesses outside their home markets.

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