More evidence world is going mobile
And more bad news for Telkom
DUE TO market-specific conditions in South Africa – particularly high prices, the difficulty of geographical coverage and copper theft, plus the decade of delays for telecoms liberalisation – it’s not surprising cellphones and wireless Internet connections outnumber fixed lines.
It now appears Europe is following the same route, despite having highly developed and cheap fixed line infrastructure and services. A new report by market-research firm Analysys Mason shows by 2013 almost 50% of European broadband subscriptions will use mobile networks. In addition, almost 25% of broadband-equipped sites will use mobile only.
“The rate at which broadband via mobile USB modems has grown has surprised many in the fixedbroadband business – and, indeed, the mobile business – and early indications are that consumers in Europe are using mobile broadband as a substitute for fixed,” says the report’s main author, Rupert Wood.
For example, when the world’s number one telecoms firm – Ericsson – launched a faster 3G modem (offering speeds of 7,2Mbps) in the Nordic countries last year, it became the fastest selling technology ever released there. By contrast, in Europe and SA ADSL-subscriber net additions are drying up.
Roads in cities throughout SA are being dug up by Neotel, Vodacom and MTN to lay optic fibre, which lessens those companies’ dependence on Telkom for back-haul infrastructure for their wireless and mobile services and make it possible to offer higher speeds to customers (a 7,2Mbps HSDPA connection – outstripping the fastest ADSL – could become available in SA next year).