The Norwegian Post & Telcommunications Authority (NPT) recently released their annual telecom market report. Key mobile related take-aways show that total revenues are close to stabile with a small increase from the year before. Breaking down the numbers we see that voice (-11 %) and messaging (-4 %) revenues are decreasing year-over-year (YOY), whilst mobile data revenues are increasing (+2 %).
The biggest change is the increase in subscription revenues (+13 %), meaning that the migration of subscription types to bucket- and fixed prices are compensating for the decreased usage of traditional telecom voice & messaging services.
In other words the Norwegian mobile subscribers have in the last 3 years gone from volume based pricing to buckets, and now only two weeks ago TeliaSonera subsidiary, NetCom, introduced unlimited usage of voice and messaging (other operators, like Tele2, were quick to follow this). The introduction of unlimited in this case isn’t anything disruptive, since big buckets in reality have the same effect -but it will get the first operators some good PR. The alterations in the subscription models is a natural consequence of the fact that customer’s preferences have changed drastically with the adaptation rate of smartphones -to the point where data is the most important parameter. Despite this shift, the operators are managing to extract the same amount of revenue from their user bases as before! We could also say that there is a slight tendency towards an alteration of the traditional role of an operator. Being the sole communication providers is slightly weakening, whilst the role as mobile access provider is strengthening. In the UK new types of operators have emerged, like GiffGaff.
It is now estimated that around 75 % of the total Norwegian handset base are smartphones. This is an 10 % increase from the year before.
56 % of Consumer customers and 65 % of Business customers have generated data traffic, whilst 15 % of Consumer customers and 30 % of Business customers have at least 1 GB of data included in their subscriptions. These stats show the great potential for uptake and usage of mobile (smartphone) services and apps in Norway, but at the same time we also see that quite a big portion of smartphone users have never generated any data traffic -even though they have data included in their subscriptions. An indication that most phones now being sold are smartphones, but that some of the buyers aren’t accustomed to the added potential in their devices.
Regarding international roaming there is an increase in usage across all three main telecom services compared to the year before. Again, data usage is by far the one with the greatest increase -over double the volume in 2012 (99 mill. MB) vs 2011 (43 mill. MB).
Since 2009 the Norwegian operators have managed cut their roaming costs substantially -generating more profit from roaming in 2012 than they have in many years. Since data usage also is the fastest growing parameter in the roaming scenario it is natural to think that (some) end users find it difficult to restrain themselves from using their smartphones as they have got accustomed to -also when being abroad. A good holiday tip is to bring an old phone with WiFi sharing/Personal hotspot functionality or a MiFi-router and purchase (and insert) a local prepaid SIM card that includes some kind of data bucket. Thereby you have a portable WiFi hotspot you can connect your phone to, but only pay local fees for the data usage :-)
All graphs and figures are courtesy of NPT
Det norske markedet for elektronisk kommunikasjon 2012 [NO]
Presentasjon Det norske ekommarkedet 2012 [NO]
Tallgrunnlag ekomstatistikk 2013 [NO]