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German mobile market sluggish

Down 3.7% from last year

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The German mobile market will experience sluggish growth in 2006, according to a report from analyst Telecompaper.

The report predicts a 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent increase this year, a far cry from figures in previous years. Last year, the market enjoyed 4.7 per cent growth.

The first half of 2006 has seen growth of 0.6 per cent, but with mobile phone penetration at 99.4 per cent as of June (up almost 10 per cent on last year) it's not easy to see where more growth is going to come from.

This, of course, is the same challenge facing operators in all the developed markets: how to continue rapid growth in the face of customer saturation?

Stealing customers from competitors is expensive, so data and other premium services are being pushed heavily in the hope of sustaining revenue growth.

The second quarter of 2006 saw these non-voice revenues top €1bn in Germany, while voice brought in €4.2bn, compared to €924m and €4.31 respectively in the same period last year.

A return to the rapid growth of the past won't be easy, and might not even be desirable. But the relevance of such figures may become less as the companies concerned cease to be mobile phone networks and become media and connectivity providers, making it more difficult, and less useful, to split off mobile revenues. ®

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