The future is no doubt bright. The market for IMS core equipment is forecast to jump from $65 million in 2007 to $1.1 billion in 2011, for a compounded annual growth rate of 102%. In the US revenue from Internet advertising is expected to grow from $16.9 billion in 2006 to $31.3 billion in 2011 at a CAGR of 13.5%. In China the wireless value added-services market is set to expand from $15 billion in 2008 to $21 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of mapping and navigation mobile phone subscribers "could" exceed 42 million worldwide by 2012.
These are just a few of the market forecasts that came across my desk over the past few weeks. In an average month I receive no fewer than 35 report summaries and press releases from some 15 telecoms research firms from around the world. Some of the more prolific companies are churning out eight to ten reports a month, with projections on everything from smartphone sales in EMEA to the market potential for mobile Internet 2.0 to the fast-growing 3G femto-cell market.
Many of the releases all too often omit vital information or lack specifics. For example, last week US-based market research company reported that the service delivery platform market, including software and integration services, is forecast to hit $3.5 billion in 2010 and stated that "revenue from fixed-line SDP deployments are forecast to skyrocket between 2006 and 2010." That's great, but what's the market at now‾ Without an annual percent increase, the data is meaningless.
Fortunately, analysts aren't just focusing on the future, with at least a majority turning out solid reports on where the markets are or have been over the past quarter or year. These obviously involve a lot less guesswork, but are still tricky nonetheless.
Good for whom‾
Of course for the industry the four- and five-year projections are useful. First of all, they give equipment suppliers an objective, third-party growth outlook to present to operators as evidence that a technology, application or service is or soon will be quickly (or otherwise) adopted by others.