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Mobile players now forced to place bets on winning services and technologies, says Analysys

With operators faced by major uncertainties over services and technology choices, scenario planning and 'market-mak...

December 22, 2003  

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With operators faced by major uncertainties over services and technology choices, scenario planning and ‘market-making’ strategies are now critical to the future of the mobile industry, according to a new report, Scenarios for the Evolution of the Wireless Industry from Analysys Research.

According to the U.K. consulting firm, to date, the cost and capability of cellular systems have led to mobile operators focusing on services such as premium-priced voice, messaging and WAP browsing, which deliver high revenue per megabyte and do not overstretch the technology.

Developments in cellular, WLAN and broadband wireless access (BWA) technologies now promise substantial improvements in cost and capability that could enable radical new service propositions, it says.

"Three major uncertainties will shape the future of the wireless industry over the next five years" says Mark Heath, co-author of the report. "First is the extent to which mobile operators attack the market for fixed voice services. Second is their appetite for low revenue per Megabyte data services, such as broadband Internet access. Third is the extent to which they deploy W-CDMA, or else prefer to implement alternative cellular, WLAN or BWA technologies".

The report defines three diverse scenarios for the evolution of the wireless industry.

In Premium for Mobility, mobile operators continue to pursue their current strategy of high revenue per megabyte services, such as messaging and ‘small screen’ browsing, which requires little investment in W-CDMA.

In Voice and Broadband Data Go Cellular, they invest heavily in W-CDMA and its enhancements, to achieve substantial fixed voice substitution and deliver true broadband wireless access.

In Alternative Technologies Thrive, public WLAN and alternative BWA technologies are implemented by a variety of different players to deliver broadband data services, at the expense of W-CDMA.

"The wireless industry is on the brink of decisions which will have profound impact on the businesses of network operators and equipment vendors," says report co-author, Alastair Brydon.

"These scenarios demonstrate the possibility of very different business outcomes over the next five years. It is critical for industry players to take their futures into their own hands by understanding the impact of industry uncertainty and taking firm action to drive the market in the direction that suits them."

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