Mobile phone usage - the good (and bad) news

Non-voice revenue key, funnily enough...
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Non-voice revenue key, funnily enough...

The number of users of mobile phones in Western Europe is set to stagnate at around the 300 million level. However, the good news is that average revenue per user (ARPU) figures - which have long been deteriorating - are also set to level out. Those are the headline findings from the latest Analysys report, which put subscriber growth at six per cent this year, compared to 17 per cent in 2001 and a robust 53 per cent in 2000. The clear message is that most people who want a mobile phone now have one and the challenge facing operators is getting individuals to spend more. Analysys forecasts O2 Germany, O2 UK, Orange UK, T-Mobile UK, Telia in Sweden and TIM in Italy are about to reverse long-term ARPU declines. The extra revenue is coming from non-voice services and the hope is that MMS, involving sales of camera phones, and gaming, which will exploit colour screens and Java-enabled handsets, will continue the recovery. Analysys also recommend mobile operators embrace the public wireless LAN revolution, warning three to 10 per cent of non-voice revenues could be lost to these rapidly emerging networks.
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