Watershed Year Ahead for Mobile

David Murphy

Informa Telecoms & Medias Mobile Industry Outlook 2006 report, just published, finds the mobile sector in optimistic mood. The report, produced annually, includes detailed market insights from Informa's principal analysts and a barometer of industry opinion based on a survey of more than 1,000 senior industry professionals.

68% of survey respondents say they are more confident about the industry's prospects in 2006 than they were last year. The report cautions, however, that 2006 will be a watershed year, when the structure of mobile markets, and the strategies of operators, begin to change, in response to a number of major threats.

The report highlights the five major trends in the marketplace that will drive operator strategies in the coming year. These include the growth of off-portal (direct-to-consumer) mobile entertainment services, as operators recognise that they may derive more revenue from traffic and billing services than from mobile content. Mobile music and e-mail are the services which mobile operators expect to generate most interest in 2006, followed by games and TV, though the report states that 2006 is too early for mobile TV technology and business models to take shape.

Other trends identified by the report include changing business models, as the unsustainability of the traditional mobile operator business model becomes more apparent; and convergence and quadruple play becoming more widespread, as fixed-line operators resort to desperate measures to rescue their ailing PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) businesses. This, says the report, will see the deployment of IP-based networks to slash operating expenses, and the roll out of converged fixed-mobile-TV-broadband services that will allow the end-user to make 'mobile' calls, at home or in the office, at PSTN rates. 2006 will also see the rise of the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) concept, as operators realise that a wholesale strategy can, in some cases, be more profitable than a retail business. Finally, VOIP (Voice over IP) will drive down the price of voice telephony, and will become a major concern for mobile operators in 2006. Despite this, the survey found that only 30% of mobile operator respondents see VOIP as a threat.

The report costs 495 for a paper copy, 743 for an online PDF single-user license, or 866 for both.

More information here.