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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ofcom research: managed services as telcos' only answer to declining revenues

Ofcom's annual bumper research volume is now out - and shows UK mobile voice revenues finally reducing in response to termination rate cuts (Fig 5.2) - 7 years after technology caused the same for fixed voice. Note that fixed broadband connections have stalled at 65% of total households and any increase in broadband subs is from mobile - notably dongles.
There are at least 4.1m broadband users (in only 3 years from launch), and 6% of households appear to have only mobile broadband (with 9% having both). As data speeds increase, this might grow, though patchy coverage and ludicrously low caps (1GB/month typically, though my 5GB/month package from 3 is adequate) discourages growth (see p.295 on how rubbish it is perceived). Unsurprisingly students and those who change address often in private rents - early-career types - are those who most want to avoid long-term contracts. Ofcom also shows - unsurprisingly - that mobile data use is growing much quicker than revenue (Fig 5.6) - though its still a barely significant 1% of total data revenue use. With 4m Jesus-phone users, that may increase.
With managed IP networks representing 20% of Internet volume but video 30% (double web surfing) it will be instructive to see how that managed fraction increases over the next 2 years. CAGR for IP traffic is steady at about 70% in the UK. At pp285-6, Ofcom explains that the overall trend is towards throttling and capping usage - and explains that this unsurprisingly is driving consumer concerns about net neutrality.

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