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Slow 3G Growth Hurts Mobile Revenue in Developing Asia

09 марта 2011

Mobile subscriptions in the developing countries of Asia continue to grow dramatically, as operators like Bharti Airtel of India and China Mobile tap new consumer segments. However, revenue growth has been failing to keep pace.

As noted in a new report from Strategy Analytics, average annual revenue growth from 2001 through 2015 is forecast to lag subscription growth by more than 10 percentage points. Without a boost from new services offered on 3G networks, revenue will start to stagnate in the next few years.

Price competition is one factor that is holds down revenue. In the hypercompetitive Indian market, for example, Bharti Airtel offers voice calls for as little as 1.2 cents per a minute, while in nearby Sri Lanka, an imposed price floor keeps operators from cutting prices below a penny a minute. Expansion into rural areas also reduces revenues.

"Operators really must expand beyond the city in order to grow," notes Tom Elliott, Director of EMCS. "Yet, people in the country typically do not have as much money to spend on communication, which hurts the top line."

For many operators, including AIS in Thailand, which now receives more than 10 percent of its service revenues from non-messaging data services, the ability to promote services beyond voice and SMS has been a key to revenue enhancement. However, AIS and the other Thai operators have been unable to expand high-speed services beyond a few limited areas because 3G spectrum auctions have been delayed for years.

According to Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director of Strategy Analytics Mobile Broadband Opportunities (MBO) service, "Unless there is a serious commitment to deploying 3G and eventually 4G networks and corresponding value added services, it is hard to see anything but long-term revenue stagnation for emerging market operators."

Источник: Cellular news

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