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What does 2013 hold for the telco industry?

Posted by Vicki Eltis on 13th February 2013

Yesterday we looked at Deloitte’s technology recommendations from its recent Technology, Media and Telecommunications report. With MWC fast approaching I thought I’d also highlight the main predictions from the telecommunications sector.

Adoption of 4G

More than 200 operators across 75 countries will have launched a 4G network by the end of 2013. However, 1.9 billion smartphone users are still likely to be using 3G and 2.5G devices. Tens of millions of customers will buy 4G devices but will not sign up to a 4G tariff.

Prices of chipsets, which have a significant impact on retail prices, will continue to fall – good news for mobile makers. Deloitte predicts revenue from subscribers on 4G tariffs will reach 10 per cent of global mobile service revenues. Mobile operators should question how best to differentiate 3G and 4G.

Simpler smartphones

Smartphone shipments will increase to more than one billion units for the first time in 2013 but a majority of these consumers will still only be using them for calls and text messages.

One in five smartphone users may never or rarely (less than once a week) connect to the Internet. Deloitte experts believe it’s down to people using hand-me down phones and the lack of ability to use their smartphone capabilities. It is surely down to the mobile networks and app companies to ensure they market and PR their products successfully?

All You Can App

Between 50 and 100 mobile operators will offer All You Can App deals with unlimited access to specific applications. This will be aimed at customers interested in mobile data usage but hesitant about running up large charges. This service hopes to quash those higher than unexpected bills that some 38% of UK users have received in the last 12 months.

Most popular will be social networking sites, email, video and instant messaging services.

An example of where operators have teamed up with third parties to offer AYCA is in India where Reliance offers unlimited access to WhatsApp and Facebook for around 19p per month.

Mobile advertising

Advertising on smartphones will increase by 35 per cent this year according to Deloitte. Mobile advertising has grouped smartphones and tablets together but this year the two will get split due to device size differing and the way people use the two devices. Rising availability of Wi-Fi connections will also see changes in the way advertising agents reach consumers.

Spectrum shortage

In dense, urban areas, spectrum exhaustion will continue and will impact performance of mobile phones due to a constrained supply of wireless bandwidth.

While progress is being made towards making additional spectrum, or HetNet technologies emerge to enable a better end-user experience, carriers will likely want to do even more with Wi-Fi and consumers may see prices increase.

photo credit: Aussiegall