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Analysys Mason releases its 2013 telecoms predictions

In 2013, roll-out of LTE services will have limited immediate economic impact, social media giants look set to stir up IP-based messaging services and smartphone penetration growth rates will slow considerably, according to Analysys...


December 20, 2012  


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In 2013, roll-out of LTE services will have limited immediate economic impact, social media giants look set to stir up IP-based messaging services and smartphone penetration growth rates will slow considerably, according to Analysys Mason’s top telecoms predictions for the next 12 months.
The technology, media and telecommunications consulting and research company is predicting the following:

1. LTE arrives, but with limited immediate impact: in 2013 LTE will become a commercial reality in many more countries, but will have limited economic impact in the next 12 months. Some European countries and emerging markets in Latin America are set to launch the network, as well as countries in South-East Asia via the Asia–Pacific band plan. Some developed markets such as South Korea will also start to deploy LTE-A and take advantage of features such as carrier aggregation to craft larger channels for higher-speed services.
2. The ‘big switch-off’ will accelerate: 2013 will see growing operator focus on ‘the big switch-off’ — legacy mobile infrastructure for mobile network operators, copper networks and PSTN for fixed operators. Approaches to this will be varied. One operator in South Korea, for example, has already switched off its 2G network.
3. Social media giants to further shake up IP-based messaging: in 2012, operators responded to SMS cannibalization by launching RCS-e, which was followed by a number of ‘telco-OTT’ services. In the next 12 months, competition will heat up further as social media giants such as Facebook move in.

4. VoLTE investment case to come into the spotlight: the first voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services came to market in 2012. Though widespread commercial deployments are still some way off, operators will need to make some tough decisions about the future of their voice services
5. Smartphone penetration growth rate to slow markedly: the smartphone market will continue to grow but the rate at which it grows will be markedly slower than in previous years. The number of annual global smartphone shipments will grow from 691 million in 2012 to 869 million in 2013. However, the rate of growth in the rate of new smartphone connections will significantly decline: from 39% in 2011 to 29% in 2012. In 2013, this growth rate will decline further to 20%.   
6. Apple to fall below 50% market share for tablet sales: as the tablet market continues to grow, Apple’s dominance of it will continue to decline, faster than many expect. Apple will fall below 50% market share for tablets by the end of 2013, with the iPad mini expected to have only a limited impact on sales numbers due to its high price point.
7. Multi-device subscription pricing to emerge: selling prices for smartphones and tablets have been falling in the past five years. This trend has supported increasing data penetration and the emergence of the multi-device user segment, which will result in many more operators launching multi-device subscription plans to capture additional revenue.

8. Traditional TV under more pressure: OTT/Connected TV and non-linear TV will continue to force broadcasters/pay-TV and telecoms operators to re-think their strategies. The take-up of paid-for OTT video services to the TV in Canada and the U.S. will more than double to 53.1 million households between 2012 and 2017, representing 37.4% of households.
9. Wi-Fi to the rescue: small-cell/service-provider Wi-Fi solutions will address mobile operators’ needs for dense urban wireless coverage and capacity, but limited backhaul availability, standards maturity and solution costs will blunt major deployments until late 2013 or early 2014.
10. Operators in emerging markets come of age: process transformation, opex and network cost optimization will become major issues in emerging markets as operators within these regions are coming of age and an apparently endless growth in mobile penetration rates is finally slowing down.