The global telecom services market grew by just 1.7% in 2009 - the lowest growth rate since 2002 – according to research from IDATE.
Mobile services remained the driving force behind the slight growth, accounting for an estimated 55% of all telecom service revenue in 2009.
Mobile customer numbers grew by 14% to 4.5 billion in 2009, meaning around 46 million new subscribers were added each month. The mobile market now generates more than twice as much income as landline calling.
Fixed telephony meanwhile continued its decline, accounting for 26% of the global telecoms market in 2009, compared to 33% in 2006. ARPU fell 2% in 2009.
By contrast, internet and data services continued to grow, with the number of broadband subscribers growing by close to 63.3 million in 2009. But these services' contributions to growth are no longer offsetting the declines in the fixed voice market.
Project leader Carole Manero attributed the overall decline in growth to “structural phenomena such as the maturity of the markets that have driven growth in the past, namely mobile telephony in industrialised countries.”
Competitive and regulatory pressures and the economic downturn have also contributed, she added.