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High demand for mobile broadbandThe global mobile broadband industry has become an incredible spectacle to observe, from the many competitors vying for position; the amazing apps streaming into the market; the introduction of new devices and the looming spectrum and infrastructure crunch. The explosion in mobile communications in the developing world has created social and economic changes that have exceeded all expectations and predictions – even those made as recently as five years ago. There are still countries lagging behind, but now is the time to move on to the next stage – and that means broadband. Already the developed world is showing an enormous appetite for mobile broadband, so the demand is most certainly there.
The introduction of new hardware that included iPhones, Android Operating System and capped data charges led to an industry breakthrough that is finally beginning to allow revenues to be generated from this growing sector. It was really the arrival of the iPhone that forced the industry to change. Rather than controlling the apps and portals market, the industry has become a broadband infrastructure facilitator. This has created a new growth area in the industry which is based more on infrastructure than on apps or services. Tablet uptake is increasing resulting in further mobile broadband usage.
The messaging industry is undergoing changes and while SMS still generates the largest market share of messaging revenues; it is expected that revenues Multimedia Messaging (MMS) and Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) will continue to grow over the next few years. Mobile social messaging is also beginning to impact upon the messaging market as consumers turn to this free way to send messages via their social networks.
Mobile apps and mobile services such as mobile gaming; social networking; mobile TV/video and mobile commerce all have a bright future ahead and further developments based on location-based services will continue to emerge. Initially people were lured by the Check-in feature offered by location based services over social networks and high profile start-ups liked Foursquare captured consumer attention based on this. However these types of services are beginning to evolve as consumers appear to be seeking more useful location-based information on places or venues they visit.
Other sectors incorporating location technology include mobile gaming; vehicle tracking; people and animal tracking and advertising. The future of mobile Location Based Services will continue to evolve as handsets with smarter capabilities, new apps and user interfaces permeate the market. This technology will also be included in the broader concept of The Internet of Things.
While the mobile broadband sector is currently going from strength to strength - it is also becoming increasingly clear that structural changes are going to be required in the near future. BuddeComm regularly bring this issue forward - similar to the discussion in relation to the structural separation of the fixed networks, which we began just over a decade ago. What we are beginning to see in the mobile industry is an infrastructure and a spectrum crunch. The winners will be the first mobile operators who have the vision and understand that the mobile network has fundamentally changed to become basically a fibre network with mobile feed-ins – with smartphones, tablets and other smart devices as the platforms on which to build new business models. Competing on mobile/fibre infrastructure through duplication will not be the smartest way forward.
BuddeComm’s new report, Global Mobile Broadband – Infrastructure and Spectrum Crunch, provides important insights into the worldwide mobile broadband industry and includes trends, analyses, statistics and case studies. The report provides a valuable overview of the global mobile broadband industry and covers key sectors including mobile apps; mobile social networking; mobile gaming; mobile messaging; mobile TV/video and mobile commerce. It provides insights into technology developments including location based technology and 3G/4G emergence. BuddeComm also explores the key issues surrounding the looming infrastructure and spectrum crunch. Information at a regional level is provided for North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific, written by BuddeComm’s Senior Analysts.
Examples of key insights:
In 2012, mobile operators seeking to increase their revenues and market share amongst saturated markets continue to on the opportunities offered by mobile broadband. We are just at the tip of the iceberg and it was not that long ago that BuddeComm was still lamenting the fact that mobile broadband revenues (excluding SMS) generated no more than 3-5% of mobile industry revenues. The combination of Location-Based Services with GPS technology, mobile commerce applications and social networking has revived the LBS sector and is leading to new wireless innovations. There has been much hype regarding this technology since around the year 2000 and it is only recently that we have seen applications becoming available to mass audiences. A popular mobile dating app in the emerging markets is called Eskimi and in 2012 it joined with Gecko Landmarks in order to incorporate location based offerings. Eskimi has over 5 million users in emerging markets with over 2 million in Nigeria alone. A number of encouraging industry developments will lead to an increase in services like mobile TV and mobile video. These include the fact that the high penetration of mobile around the world signifies a mass market potential; 3G and 4G technology uptake is set to continue; there is a growing use of mobile web by consumers – leading to more mobile web video viewing; and there is improved advertising subsidies to subscription base streaming mobile TV services.Regionally, in the Middle East LTE has been launched in rapid succession by Gulf Region operators. Bandwidth demand is also driving investment in backhaul and Internet connectivity.African companies which are holding LTE spectrum are becoming hot takeover targets.Asia’s mobile markets continue to offer huge potential for mobile data services. With 3G networks being launched and expanded, the demand for service in the region’s developing markets has picked up pace. In South Asia, in particular, more people own a mobile phone than a PC, giving the delivery of mobile data services huge opportunities there.In Australia, 4G networks are being rolled out by the operators to increase the usability of the congested 3G networks.Five 4G/LTE networks have been deployed in four Latin American countries (Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay).
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