No quick post-recession recovery for telecoms operators in Western Europe

Date: Fri, 05/14/2010 - 13:48 Source: Analysys Mason PR department

There will be no quick post-recession recovery for Western European telecoms, according to new forecasts published by telecoms, IT and media adviser Analysys Mason. End-user spend was down by 4.4% in 2009, and will decline at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of –1.8% until 2012

No quick post-recession recovery for telecoms operators in Western Europe Image credited to Siemens Enterprise Communications

The associated report, The Western European telecoms market: trends and forecasts 2009–2014, shows that the combination of market maturity in key services and the subsidiary effects of the recession will prevent service revenue growth. It argues that the pricing strategies that operators used to help them through the economic downturn will hinder any rebound in revenue.
“Margin for loyalty trade-offs, margin for volume trade-offs, SIM-only contracts: all these strategies have fundamentally altered consumer perceptions of value and pricing,” says Rupert Wood, Principal Analyst and lead author of the report.
“As a consequence, operators will find it more difficult to maintain price premiums and harvest additional spend on new services.”
The forecasts do identify areas of growth, but these will not be enough to compensate for the overall decline in revenue from core services. Growth areas include modem-based mobile broadband – an as yet small but essentially new revenue stream, which the report predicts will grow at a 33% CAGR until 2012.
Fixed broadband still has room to grow at a 4% CAGR over the same period, but operators face the difficult challenge of persuading users to pay more for next-generation access.
The report identifies a polarisation in mobile spending habits. “As one group of customers pares its spending back to SIM-only contracts, another rapidly growing group enthusiastically adopts smartphones”, says Yanli Suo-Saunders, Senior Analyst and co-author of the report.
“Our forecasts indicate an 11% CAGR for mobile handset non-messaging data until 2012, but this growth will be hampered by increasingly rigid perceptions of what a mobile contract should cost.”
One interesting development during the past year has been the slowing of fixed-to-mobile voice substitution. “The recession in part explains this phenomenon because people, often incorrectly, assume that fixed voice services offer better value,” says Stephen Sale, Senior Analyst and report co-author. “However, the widespread adoption of VoIP among mainstream telecoms operators demonstrates that fixed voice services, if priced at the right level, can still have a significant impact on the overall voice services market.”


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