iDate DigiWorld predicted that telecoms operators may turn their backs on consolidation over the next decade, preferring instead to strike cross-industry partnerships to boost their portfolio of services.
In its annual Yearbook report, the European think tank tipped network operators to seek mergers with companies working in sectors including TV, media, transportation, and industrial services. While big name companies including Google and Apple could seek to gain ground in fields including automotive, major telecoms companies are likely to seek partnerships with companies operating in the TV and streaming services sectors, the company stated.
Yves Gassot, CEO of iDate DigiWorld, said such cross-industry mergers and partnerships could be particularly beneficial for European operators, which are operating in a market that is "still very much weighed down by a very tough competitive and regulatory climate".
Cross-industry mergers like those predicted by iDate would certainly provide European mobile operators with a route to boosting their service mix at a time when the European Commission is taking a tough line against in-house mergers -- particularly those that reduce the number of MNOs in individual markets from four to three -- and interest in triple- and quad-play service offerings is on the rise.
iDate estimated that the digital services market for telecoms and internet would grow by around 7 per cent each year over to be worth at least €2,900 billion ($3,297 billion) by 2025, based on a business model where a wide range of services are sold at a minimal cost and consumed en masse.
The think tank predicted that emerging business models will fuel a modest return to annual sales growth for Western telcos and digital media companies over the next decade, but noted that the bulk of future growth will be registered in Africa, China and India.
iDate also said that the next decade would see the cost of smartphones drop and sales of tablets dwindle. The group further tipped artificial intelligence and virtual reality to join the Internet of Things (IoT) on the list of growth technologies during its forecast period.
- see this iDate DigiWorld announcement
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