Informa Report Sees Through the Gloom

2009 has been billed as a year of doom and gloom. However, if you look behind the economic turmoil caused by the global financial crisis, there are opportunities available for investors, operators and vendors in the dynamic global mobile industry. Thats the conclusion of Informa Telecoms & Medias Global Mobile Market Outlook report for 2009.
Emerging markets remain at the centre of this opportunity, Informa believes. Untainted by saturation, Informa suggests that there are still considerable margins for growth in some of the worlds most populous markets, such as India, Indonesia and Nigeria. It adds that the potential does not just revolve around new customers, but in serving those most recently connected with greater content offerings and value-added applications. Furthermore, with operators in emerging economies looking to cut costs, Informa believes we can expect to see the outsourcing of network maintenance to become a growing trend.
Like any sector, those companies that can most clearly and effectively differentiate their services from those of their competitors, and build their brand, will win out by retaining existing custom at a time when an increasing number of consumers will review their spending plans, and by winning new business, says Informa Principal Analyst, Nicholas Jotischky. The global mobile industry will be no different. Indeed, understanding and managing customer needs will be the key to ensuring customer loyalty, which will prove to be a priceless commodity in 2009.
In the Middle East, revenues from mobile data services in the third quarter of 2008 reached $1 billion (686 million), highlighting the potential for the uptake of mobile broadband services to drive growth. Perhaps, the single most notable feature in the region, says Informa, is the ongoing expansionist activity of some of the Gulfs largest operators. We expect to see a healthy M&A climate in 2009 in Africa and Asia as Zain and Etisalat clearly see the current global macroeconomic climate as an opportunity to acquire new assets in high-growth markets, notes Jotischky.
What of Europe and North America? Here too, opportunities will present themselves, Informa believes. The report suggests that in markets such as Germany and the US, there is still a mood for service innovation. Those operators that are successful innovators will give themselves a greater opportunity of riding out the storm caused by cuts in consumer spending, intense competition and market saturation. Value-added services such as mobile payment that either help make the life of users easier, or more entertaining services such as music and Mobile TV, will provide opportunities for operators, handset vendors and solutions providers alike.
Despite this optimism, Informas Global Mobile Outlook for 2009 does acknowledge the considerable challenges ahead for the industry, and especially for the vendor community.
The lifeblood of the supplier community is operator capital expenditure, and if we start to see a prolonged trend for cuts in investment plans for 2009 and beyond, this will spell trouble, says Jotischky. The handset market will also need to watch very closely the impact of consumer spending cuts and the decreased availability of credit, especially towards the higher-end of the consumer and corporate markets. A useful barometer for the industry as a whole will be spending on mobile data services. The moment data revenues stagnate is the time to worry, and we have not yet reached this stage.
Theres more information about Global Mobile Market Outlook 2009 here. And you can access select 2007 and 2008 mobile data from Informa Telecoms & Media here.

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