Speakers at the 3rd Mobile Pricing Symposium organised by research firm Tariff Consultancy Ltd which was held at Cambridge University from the 9th to the 11th of July have forecast that mobile data services will continue to be the main driver of growth in the mature markets until 2012.
Previous forecasts made by equipment providers indicate that mobile data usage will increase to over 1 Exabyte (1000kb to the power of 6). But with continued increases in mobile data subscriber numbers – if the rate of increase matches that of earlier mobile user penetration - it is likely that even this large data number forecast of 1 Exabyte will prove to be an underestimate. “Which indicates that mobile network providers will urgently need to address the economics of provisioning their networks to handle Exabyte and above levels of data, which will be the main driver over their network, not voice,” says Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy Ltd. Furthermore, mobile subscriber growth is still coming from the emerging markets as they repeat the same growth phase as the mature markets.
Regulation for the mobile provider is about to enter a new phase as prepaid SIM cards become an essential form of communication for low income groups in all countries. This will place more responsibility on the mobile operator to ensure that fair and transparent services are applied with more robust consumer protection required.
The adoption of new bundled services means that mobile operators are protecting existing price points but are doing so at the expense of providing additional services which runs the risk of commoditisation. The impact of new flat rate services means that the effect is to reduce mobile operator ARPU over time.
New service adoption is being led by Mobile Broadband which has become the most dramatic example of rapid penetration. Mobile Broadband pricing has declined by more than half in real terms during the 3 year period from 2004 to 2007 with more broadband capacity being available for the same price. The recent availability of easy portable mobile data connections (such as the USB modem) means that mobile data services have started to become a mass market consumer item.
“Mobile broadband prices in the UK market alone have dropped by up to 50 per cent in the last six months,” commented Margrit Sessions of Tariff Consultancy Ltd. “Price competition among mobile broadband providers has become intense as the cost of devices has reduced and increased network capacity has become available with HSDPA speeds,” she stated. “We believe that flat rate price competition will continue to be severe until mobile providers learn how to differentiate their product offer to meet the need of individual user groups. This is a recurring theme that we look forward to analysing at the 4th Mobile Pricing Symposium in 2009,” Margrit Sessions concluded.
* Speakers were represented from: GSM Association; John Tysoe Founder, Founder and Managing Director The Mobile World; Claire Milne Antelope Consulting; Rajaa Chbani, Profitability Expert, Meditel/Morocco; Demet Penpecioglu Head of Pricing & Billing Op.,Turkcell, Turkey; Eric Hatton, Head of Product Management - Charging, Acision; Arivaldo Sousa Jr, Brasil Telecom/Brazil; Ray Anderson, CEO and Founder, Bango; Dean Bubley Founder of Disruptive Analysis; Plus research analysts from Tariff Consultancy Ltd.
Note to Editors:
About Tariff Consultancy Ltd.
Tariff Consultancy Ltd, based in London, is a specialist research, consultancy and event company which is focussed on the analysis of tariffs in a business context for the mobile and fixed line operator on a global basis. Tariff Consultancy is the publisher of Mobile Broadband Tariff Tracker, Global Roaming Tariff Tracker, Triple Play Journal, Benchmark Tariff Services.
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