Dataquest Predicts: Telcos unprepared for Internet boom

The Internet will drive sales of mobile phones in Europe as we enter the Millennium -- but many operators are unprepared according to analysts.

Speaking at Dataquest's Predicts '99 in Paris on Tuesday, Dataquest analyst Dirk Bout predicts the mobile market in Europe will be worth $102bn (£63bn) by 2003. With consumers demanding higher data speeds and real-time access to the Internet, operators must develop IP based networks now if they want to remain competitive according to Dataquest analyst Dirk Bout.

"The majority of Europe's mobile operators are not prepared for these changes," he said. Exceptions to this are BT-Cellnet in the UK, and Nordic operators Telia and Sonera.

Operators must provide devices that deliver high speed data communications within a year analysts claim. Mobile users' demand for access to information from anywhere in the world will mean that, by 2002, users will have more than one wireless device.

Alongside traditional mobile phones will be devices that allow users to communicate visually, access personalised Web sites, do online banking and book theatre tickets