Mobile Broadband Key to Revenue for Struggling Telcos

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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Mobile broadband gives operators the best chance at revenue gains over the next four years.

So say the researchers at Ovum, who, in their new report, "New Revenue Opportunities in Telecoms: 2013-16," predict mobile broadband will grow 19.2 percent per year through 2016, generating nearly $123 billion (U.S.) in incremental revenue between now and 2016.

Overall, Ovum notes, global telecom operator revenues topped $2 trillion in 2012, with 60 percent going to mobile operators. Going forward, revenue growth overall will be minimal, but the research firm expects some segments – particularly mobile broadband – to have above-average growth and significant incremental revenues. Other segments with double-digit revenue growth over the next five years include public cloud, enterprise Ethernet, IPTV and managed/hosted IP voice.

“The recovery from the 2009 recession has been weak, and the ongoing global fiscal crisis continues to present a risk to the telecom industry," comments John Lively, chief forecaster at Ovum. “Over the next 3–4 years, both fixed and mobile operators will face the same fundamental challenge: to increase new sources of revenue fast enough to offset the decline in mature services."

This involves competing with new over-the-top players as well as traditional competitors in the consumer space. To meet this challenge, Ovum recommends adopting consumer-services marketing approaches.

For infrastructure vendors, increases in overall capital expenditures will be limited by low single-digit gains in service provider revenues, the firm said. To grow revenues faster than the industry average, Ovum recommends that vendors position themselves in one or more high-potential product segments, such as converged packet optical, ROADMs, 40G/100G networking gear, carrier Wi-Fi, and network-related services.

Elsewhere, Ovum warns component makers to expect continued high volatility in market demand – higher highs and lower lows than their customers or end customers are experiencing.

“This can be mitigated to some degree by forming close relationships with infrastructure vendors and jointly understanding the end customers' needs and plans," said Lively. “Plus, winning a share of 40G and 100G business will be essential to avoid being left behind by competitors."

Follow editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter @Craig_Galbraith .

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