EU lagging in 4G rollouts
Europe is falling behind other global markets in deploying next generation mobile technologies due to falling revenues, the GSM Association (GSMA) claims.
Research by the Association claims LTE devices in Europe account for 0.3% of all handsets in use, compared to 28% in South Korea, and 11% in the US. It claims Europe is the only region in the world where revenues are waning, estimating the figure dropped from €162 billion in 2010 to €151 billion in 2012 despite the region holding a world leading 79% unique subscriber penetration rate, and suggests the falls could impact the contribution the mobile industry makes to the European economy.
“Europe was long viewed as a pioneer in mobile but…is now lagging behind other regions in the deployment of mobile broadband, particularly 4G/LTE,” says GSMA director general Anne Bouverot.
While Bouverot notes the cellular industry can still make a significant contribution to Europe’s economy, it will “require a policy that encourages investment in mobile broadband connectivity, enables innovation, and helps build consumer confidence in mobile services,” she says.
The GSMA’s view echoes that of European Commission (EC) vice president Neelie Kroes, who says more consistent regulation is required to boost private sector confidence and investment in the wireless industry.
GSMA research estimates the mobile ecosystem generated around 2.1% of the EU’s GDP in 2012, including contributions of €53 million to public funding. The industry also supported 394,000 jobs in the region last year. It also predicts the number of connected wireless devices in Europe will hit six billion in 2020 – almost a quarter of the global total – and the total addressable market for connected living in the region could hit €234 billion the same year.