Voice and messaging revenues will come under increasing pressure, but mobile data revenue growth won’t be enough to fill the gap. Maturing markets, the cost of rolling out new network technologies, intense competition, and the growing threat from OTT players will force operators to reduce their cost bases and review their strategic roadmaps in order to survive.
Emerging markets will fuel connections growth
There will be sustained mobile connections growth across the globe between 2012 and 2017, but Africa, Asia-Pacific, and the US will be the primary growth drivers. Africa will be the most prolific growth region, with connections increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% to reach 935 million in 2017.
While connections growth in Asia-Pacific will begin to slow, the region’s 4.4 billion connections in 2017 will make it the greatest contributor to global connections. Growth in the region will largely be driven by the “big three” emerging markets of China, India, and Indonesia, which will have 3 billion connections between them in 2017.
North America shows that developed regions can excel
The performance of North America, and in particular the US, is surprising given that it is a mature region. Ovum expects connections in North America to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% over the forecast period to reach 486 million in 2017. This growth is more in line with emerging markets and will mainly be fueled by a dramatic increase in the use of smartphones and shared data plans. The aggressive rollout of LTE networks will also have a positive impact on the US market.