Feeds

Mobile voice revenue slowdown predicted from 2013

Who'll pay for all the data traffic then?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Ovum reckons revenue from voice will start dipping within two years, and the increasing data revenues won't be enough to replace it either.

That's not to say that people are making fewer calls, but in developed markets we've long seen voice traffic rising as revenue remains static. Ovum's latest predictions are based on that model continuing into expanding markets, where margins are tighter, and concludes the end of the data subsidy will come in 2016.

Voice calls have been subsidising data for a long time now. Three, for example, reckons more than 90 per cent of its UK traffic is data, but that data only contributes around 30 per cent of the revenue, so those making voice calls are paying for those of us using our data connections.

That's obviously unsustainable, and Ovum puts the end game (worldwide) just five years down the road: "In 2016, non-voice revenues will no longer be a supplement to voice revenues. Instead, they will begin to replace them" the company tells us. But Ovum also reckons that data revenues won't rise fast enough to make up the drop, leading to mobile telecommunications revenue dropping globally as operators fail to squeeze more revenue from their data customers.

All the UK operators have flirted with variable charging to up the amount we pay per byte. Three started throttling at peak times/sites, but backtracked slightly at the last minute; T-Mobile made noises about reducing its cap, but it was only applying it to streamed media, which was too complicated for some – though many of those didn't want to understand it.

Vodafone Germany launched its 4G (LTE) service with a tariff which drops customers back to 3G when they hit the data cap. That's an interesting model, especially given that 3G is good enough in most circumstances, but it denies the flexibility that 4G offers. With LTE the operator can vary the connection speed of an individual connection enormously, throwing them back to 3G is an extremely-primitive way of achieving the same thing.

Analysts' predictions are always hard to credit, being little more than educated guesses from people in suits, but the end of the data subsidy will have to come eventually, and 2016 is as good a date as any even if it means overall revenue dropping too. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it
Keep in mind if, say, your Onion browser craps out on Xfinity
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.