Monday, March 27, 2006

World wireless revenue to surpass fixed

United Press International reports that according to Gartner, "global service revenues from wireless phone service will surpass those of fixed lines for the first time by the end of 2006." Philip Redman at Gartner predicted that "by the end of 2008, a majority of all telecom revenues will be from wireless phones." He said, "The growth of the telecom industry is reliant mainly on the services and mobile sectors; infrastructure will experience only a limited upside."

Redman remarked that "chief among the money-making services is the time spent actually talking on the phone. Data services, like mobile Internet, games, ringtones and text messaging may experience high volume consumption, but are also relatively low-cost." The biggest money makers will be handset sales. "By 2009 Gartner expects that mobile companies will sell more than 1 billion handsets every year and that by 2010 the low-end models will cost less than $25 each."

Redman forecasted that "3 billion of the world's 6.5 billion people will be mobile users by 2010." He said, "Fifty percent of the world will be covered by wireless. But not 50 percent of the area -- we, as people, tend to like to live near each other. It's pretty incredible."

Redman added: "What do you think the world's teledensity -- the percentage of people who have access to a phone -- is right now? Twenty-five percent? Less? Less than 10 percent of the people in the world have ever made a phone call, and by 2010 almost half of them are going to have a cell phone."

Redman also predicted that "by 2009, 99 percent of all new (telephone) voice connections will be wireless, while 70 percent of the total existing voice connections will be wireless worldwide,." He said, "That's why AT&T bought Bell South -- because of Cingular."

On the topic of converged devices, Redman didn't "foresee combination devices like the phone-MP3 player pushing traditional MP3 players out of the market." He said, "There are too many tradeoffs," citing "limited memory and decreased sound quality offered by the MP3 phones."