Developing nations attract investment attention


While the financial world continues to be hit by the sub-prime debacle, the telecoms world appears almost unaffected as the pace for acquisitions by European and Asian operators reaches new highs.

The majority of the major cell phone operators have made plain that they're on the lookout for deals in the emerging markets--not surprising with the stellar returns seen from operating services in these countries in the results from Vodafone, and given fresh impetus by the heavy hand of the telecom regulator wanting operators to cut the prices of an increasing number of high margin services such as text messaging.

Are we at the early stages of another telecoms bubble with wireless CEOs wanting to prove to their shareholders they have a strategy for long-term growth and prosperity by spending billions on crackpot schemes? Probably not - even in developed markets there are signs that mobile data traffic is at long last beginning to grow with the mobile Internet just starting to generate measurable uptake.

Sure signs of this came from Sol Trujillo, CEO of Telstra, who announced last week that revenues from non-SMS data traffic had just overtaken text message revenues. Perhaps we are at that stage where consumers are recognising the potential of the mobile other than voice and SMS. -Paul