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European Wireless Broadband Market (On Demand)

Publication Overview

The European Wireless Broadband Market (On Demand) Annual Publication discusses a number of market issues such as the gradual increase of mobile voice traffic at the expense of fixed voice traffic, the impact that this will have on investment, the advent of mobile VoIP and which operators are offering this service.

That MNOs have largely resisted the move to mobile VoIP thus far partly due to the nascent state of LTE, however, in the next two years the market should see a shift in the relationship of MNOs with VoIP providers.

The countries covered in this report include: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine , United Kingdom.

Researchers: Henry Lancaster and Paul Kwon

This is an “On Demand” publication which is produced once an order and payment has been received. This publication will be available within a maximum of 5 business days, of your order and payment confirmation.

European Wireless Broadband Market (On Demand)

Executive Summary

This is an “On Demand” publication which is produced once an order and payment has been received. This publication will be available within a maximum of 5 business days, of your order and payment confirmation.

Europe is one of the world’s foremost markets for wireless broadband. The region accounts for about 40% of worldwide WiMAX subscribers, and is at the forefront of developments in mobile broadband: Norway and Sweden were the first countries in the world to provide commercial mobile broadband services based on LTE technology, and by mid-2010 operators committed to LTE deployment were active in 15 EU countries.

There has been a marked shift in consumer interest in WiMAX during the last two years. WiMAX was never able to compete with DSL and cable on price or scale, and was thus viewed as a complement to existing fixed-line services as well as established 3G offerings. Although enjoying an initial head-start on LTE, WiMAX developers did not capitalise on this, and so have failed to prosper. The target markets for WiMAX have been primarily Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, although there is considerable activity in Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria. However, many operators such as Vodafone, which had put their feet in both camps a few years ago, have since abandoned WiMAX in favour of LTE or iterations of HSPA+ as a stepping stone to LTE. WiMAX retains a significant market presence in Europe, though it will increasingly become marginalised by LTE which is likely to become the preferred 4G technology after the 3GPP’s Release 10 standard is published in March 2011.

The mobile broadband market in Europe is emerging rapidly, largely the result of the alignment between the wider consumer use of sophisticated smartphones (average users now download more than 5GB per month), the availability of hundreds of thousands of mobile applications, and the initial enthusiasm of operators to offer flat-rate data plans to encourage consumer use of high-end data services. Network operators have since scaled back or terminated flat-rate plans in favour of usage tariffs in a bid to control network stress resulting from high data use.

The average EU penetration of dedicated mobile broadband cards is above 5% by population and is growing at 80-90% yearly as consumers demand ubiquitous Internet access. By 2013 there could be up to 22 million LTE subscribers in Europe. In six countries (Finland, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Ireland and Denmark) mobile broadband penetration exceeds 10%, with Finland the highest at 17%. Network operators during the next few years must anticipate data traffic increase of 40 to 100-fold. To facilitate this, regulators have either already auctioned or will auction during the next two years a range of spectrum in the 800MHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands. In addition, refarmed 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum, previously assigned to 2G services, are being made available for 3G mobile broadband services.

Higher data traffic has not translated into higher revenue for operators, partly due to flat rate price models as well as competition. Most operators will move to an open access model through which connected devices (many imbedded with LTE technology) will encourage customer stickiness and reduce churn. In addition, mobile broadband will promote mobile VoIP services (such as the VoLTE service supported by a number of MNOs, but also including embedded Skype and similar iterations) which will further reduce revenue from both voice minutes and voice termination rates.

The recent economic crisis across the region since late 2008 has contributed to negative growth in mobile CAPEX (by about 2.4% in 2008 and an estimated 3.5% in 2009), yet the inexorable rise in data traffic will stimulate investment in network and technology upgrades during the next few years to increase capacity. A range of value added services, such as mpayments, gaming, advertising, gambling and commerce generally, will create new sources of revenues and further encourage consumer data use. During the next few years, the drive among operators to keep up with consumer demand for data services, as well as revenue derived from such services, will be a main prop to the telecom sector’s overall revenue.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:

  • This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.
  • The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.
  • All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.

Please Note: Due to the brevity and/or nature of the content posted, there is no table of contents available for this report.

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