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Next-gen access, targeted services to fuel emerging mobile market growth

01 июля 2010

Next-generation access technology and highly-targeted services will drive expansion in emerging mobile markets as penetration growth begins to level off and operators aim to offset their costs, claimed analyst firm AT Kearney.

"HSPA and LTE, as well as low-cost handsets, which will increasingly include smartphones, will be two of the main [growth] pillars," said Laurent Viviez, a principal analyst at AT Kearney focused on European and African mobile markets.

Speaking to Total Telecom on the sidelines of the World Telecoms Council in London, he said more players will also deploy "tactical innovations" tailored to address specific market needs.

These could include new methods of charging handsets, such as solar-powered or wind-up mechanisms aimed at users who live off the power-grid, said Viviez.

"There are also applications and services like m-payments… [and] tactical innovations that have been developed specifically for individual markets – such as trading platforms for farmers – that have seen good traction."

The increasing focus on next-generation access technology and services is becoming increasingly important for emerging market mobile operators as penetration growth begins to slow, said Viviez.

"Emerging markets have had superb [mobile subscriber] growth rates for several years, but now in percentage terms they're beginning to slow to the lower teens and tens," he said.

"These markets already generate extremely low ARPU, and the cost of doing business in these places is immense."

Viviez claimed that in some emerging African markets supplying fuel to diesel-powered base stations can account for up to 25% of a mobile operator's total cost base.

By comparison in developed markets power accounts for around 3% of an operator's costs, he said.

"There is also the challenge of people trying to steal fuel that operators have to deal with," he added.

Meanwhile high levels of illiteracy mean around 22% of operating costs go towards teaching customers how to use mobile services – particularly the Internet – and training the extra staff required to educate their subscribers, said Viviez.

"They're spending all this money on educating their customers to use mobile Internet, but in most African markets voice services account for around 97% of revenue, while the other 3% is SMS," he commented. "These can be very challenging environments."

Источник: Total Telecom

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