The mobile Internet case study: Spain 2010

Global mobile data traffic almost tripled in the past year, growing ten times faster than voice traffic, according to statistics recently released by Swedish vendor Ericsson. The firm said that, based on measurements it has made of real network traffic around the world, global mobile data traffic stands at 225,000 terabytes per month as of the second quarter of 2010. Earlier this year the firm reported that total data traffic exceeded total voice traffic in volume for the first time in December 2009. The firm said that, despite the rapid growth in data volumes, just ten per cent of total mobile subscriptions worldwide are mobile broadband subscriptions, aka, the rest are mobile internet users.

Informa recently conducted an exercise looking very closely at the major strategic initiatives that have been implemented by the European telco community and showing a surprising level of consensus amongst all major European telcos. As a result of this exercise, it’s crystal clear that Mobile Internet & Mobile data is the top priority for the next years and, whilst the tactics in reaching the goals may vary, the analysis showed the long-term strategic priorities are shared and fall into four very clear and focused aims to make this happen.

The first is to deploy ubiquitous high-speed broadband factories. In essence, operators are focused on extending the reach of broadband to as many people in as many locations as possible using a mixture of fixed and mobile technologies to do so. On this front, the tactics in achieving the goal vary both in terms of the speed of deployment and the technologies chosen, but the operators are united in realising that high-speed broadband will be their key asset in the future. But it’s not just about coverage, quality is also uppermost in their thoughts and operators are deploying a variety of network management tools to try to lay a foundation that is leading in terms of coverage, capacity, quality, speed and experience for their users.

Whilst all the talk may be of future revenue streams, operators cannot afford to forget about the cash cows that drive profitability in their business. That means protecting the core revenue streams of voice and SMS that even in five year’s time will continue to account for more than two-thirds of mobile operator revenues. On this front a variety of approaches were seen – some more short-sighted operators are still focused on VoIP blocking, others are keen to partner with third-party VoIP providers, while the most forward-looking operators such as Telekom Austria and Telefonica have begun launching their own VoIP propositions. SMS, meanwhile, is threatened not only by price declines, the threat of regulation as well as cannibalisation from other internet-based communications options such as Facebook messaging, etc.

The third priority is a commitment to service quality. In a mature industry where the retention of customers is so fundamental to profitability, operators must have a razor-sharp focus on ensuring exceptional service quality levels across every part of their business, from the call centre, to the retail footprint right through into the network.

Spanish telecom operators are not an exception and have been investing in Mobile Data and Internet as the subscribers growth “Mana”. Just to share how important it is to accurately deploy the previously detailed initiatives, I wanted to share an interesting survey conducted to more than two million customer interviews across 11 key mobile markets every year (including Spain). The survey shows the effect of defining, designing and implementing a good strategy in Mobile Internet & Data. It gives insight into mobile phone bevaviour and on who is performing in this area in the highly competitive spanish mobile telecom market.

The data shows that Vodafone has the highest percentage of customers using the most mobile Internet advanced services, consistently above the average. This success with non-voice services is clearly reflected in its ARPU, giving Vodafone a contract ARPU of €30.23, compared to Orange on €27.70 and Movistar on €28.08- Vodafone also leads the way in prepaid ARPU with €19.76 compared to €18.15 for Orange and €16.93 for Movistar.

Enjoy the survey!. Ramadan Kareem friends!

CVA. Flying to Dusseldorf, Germany.

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