- Analysys urges operators to cease using technical terms such as GPRS and
WAP in their product naming and marketing
- GPRS must be extended now to the mass market
- prepaid customers represent
63% of Western European mobile subscribers
- Third parties - systems integrators, resellers, brand owners and content developers -
are critical to the development of packet-based GPRS services
CAMBRIDGE, UK, April 25, 2002 - More than 40 million Western Europeans (13% of all mobile phone users) will be accessing General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) by the end of 2003, according to a new report released by Analysys, the global advisor on telecoms and new media ( http://www.analysys.com). Assuming, that is, mobile operators move quickly to offer complete service sets, extend these to the mass market, and learn marketing lessons from the failure of WAP services.
"Mobile operators must enthuse customers about the added benefits of GPRS," says Katrina Bond, the report's co-author. "At the very least, they should review the language they use to brand and promote these services, drop references to GPRS, WAP and other technical terms, and engage their customers with something more imaginative."
The Reality of GPRS in Europe: subscribers and revenue explains that the take-up of services has been disappointingly low to date. By the end of 2001, says Analysys, 50 of Western Europe's 76 mobile operators had launched GPRS networks and around 3.3 million GPRS-enabled devices had been sold - but, significantly, less than one third of the device owners were using them to access packet-based cellular data services.
The main reason for the slow growth in GPRS, according to Analysys, is that operators have not yet developed complete service sets that effectively address the key issues of network management, device innovation, user-specific applications, value-based pricing and billing, and confident, targeted marketing.
"Although the market for GPRS-based services is now beginning to accelerate, operators must learn from the WAP experience and ensure that the branding focuses on the customer experience and not the technology," adds Bond. "This will become increasingly important as operators roll out GPRS to the mass market in an attempt to halt the ongoing decline in overall revenue per subscriber."
Although businesses have been the main target market for GPRS to date, the report argues that consumer-focused services will be critical for GPRS to reach its full potential. In particular, it stresses the need for operators to cater for prepaid customers, which account for 63% of all mobile subscribers across Western Europe and as much as 90% in countries such as Italy.
Figure 1: Proportion of Western European cellular subscribers on prepaid accounts for selected countries, 2001 [Source: Analysys Research, 2002] - available on request.
Analysys estimates that 75% of GPRS subscribers at the end of 2001 were business users, as shown in the figure below, but that by the end of 2003 residential users could outnumber business users, accounting for 80% of GPRS users, and yielding almost half of total GPRS revenues.
Figure 2: Distribution of GPRS customers by market segment for selected Western European countries [Source: Analysys Research, 2002] - available on request.
Services need to be appropriately tailored: always-on email is the strongest requirement for business users while, for consumers, the success of SMS highlights the demand for creating and sending large amounts of user-generated content. Consumer-oriented devices should look attractive and offer users superior messaging capabilities based on colour screens and always-on connectivity.
Third parties are likely to play an increasingly important part in the packet-based mobile service value chain, which is far more complicated than in the GSM market dominated by network operators. To be successful, according to Analysys, operators will need the input of brand owners, systems integrators, content developers and resellers.
"In many cases, implementations of tailored business applications are done with the sales and delivery support of systems integrators such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, Computacentre and Unisys," explains Bond. Telia Mobile in Sweden and T-Mobile in Germany are among the mobile operators that have recently announced partnerships with systems integrators for the delivery of GPRS-based solutions.
The report looks at the reasons behind GPRS's slow start and at the current state of the market. It evaluates the strategies for operators and the industry that will best resolve the uncertainties affecting GPRS. It forecasts the subscriber numbers and revenue that can be achieved by the end of 2003 if these issues are resolved, and identifies the essential elements of an attractive GPRS service proposition. Report pricing starts from EUR1105. For more information, telephone Analysys Research on +44 (0) 1223 341300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
About Analysys ( http://www.analysys.com)
Analysys, the global advisor in telecoms, IT and new media, works at the forefront of the communications revolution, delivering advice and insight to established and new entrant players. From offices in Cambridge, London, Glasgow, Madrid, Milan, Paris, San Francisco and Washington DC, Analysys staff provide strategy and systems consultancy, conferences, information services and start-up support to the companies that are creating the networked economy. Analysys Research reports and database services provide authoritative coverage of this convergent industry, based on an unrivalled ability to fuse real-world experience, rigorous research and forward-looking analysis.
Recent reports include:
* Western European Mobile Forecasts and Analysis 2002-2007 (March 2002)
* Session Initiation Protocol: SIP-related European revenue forecasts 2002-2007 (February 2002)
* Public Wireless LAN Access: US Market Forecasts 2002-2007 (January 2002)
* Video Streaming for Enterprises: forecast revenues for service providers (December 2001)
* GPRS Roaming: technical options and strategic implications (December 2001)
* Storage Area Networks: New Revenues for Optical Carriers? (November 2001)
* Public Wireless LAN Access: Market Forecasts (November 2001)
* Pricing GPRS Services (October 2001)
* FRIACO: how capacity-based interconnection strengthens the Internet market (October 2001)
* Meeting the Challenges of GPRS Billing (September 2001)
* The Bandwidth Exchange: Herald of a New Carrier Age (August 2001)
* Public Wireless LAN Access: A Threat to Mobile Operators? (August 2001)
* Controlling the 3G Value Chain (July 2001)
* Successfully Marketing Mobile Data Services to SMEs (July 2001)
* Gigabit Ethernet: the solution to the MAN bandwidth bottleneck? (July 2001)
* Market Realities of IP-VPNs (July 2001)
Media contacts (for author photography, executive summaries and interviews):
Martin Brooke Associates
Tel: +44 (0)1223 264050
Tel: +44 (0)1223 341300
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