More ev­i­dence world is go­ing mo­bile

And more bad news for Telkom

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - FRIK ELS

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).

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