Increasing numbers of mobile users, along with growth in mobile internet and data access, will offset falling voice revenues and enable mobile operators to increase turnover between now and 2012, according to a recent report.
Research firm Analysys predicted that mobile operators will see revenues increase by 5.4 per cent per annum until 2012, despite revenues from voice traffic being driven down by price competition and increasingly hostile regulators.
Mobile operators have been hoping for some years that data access will take over from voice as the main money earner, but so far it accounts for less than 20 per cent of mobile revenues.
Operators may actually end up reversing the decline and earning more from voice traffic after 2011, because femtocells (small-scale base stations for individual buildings) will enable them to switch more customers from fixed to mobile connections.
Combined turnover for western European operators should be €195bn by 2012, according to Analysys, earned from 490 million subscriptions. This will mean 20 per cent more phones than phone-owners as users subscribe to multiple services.
But it is primarily fast mobile data and internet access that will save mobile operators from decline, although they need to drop their walled-garden approach to internet access and switch to flat-fee models.
"Mobile data will take up rapidly in the next few years, fuelled by an increasing adoption of open approach to the mobile internet, flat-rate data pricing and ongoing deployment of HSPA," said report co-author Dr Yanli Suo-Saunders.
- Analysys report:
Western European Mobile Market: trends and forecasts 2007-2012
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