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The Future of Broadband: Fixed-Mobile Substitution

December 2010 | 63 pages | ID: F9241D6B0EAEN

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Much has been made of the opportunity for users and operators to “cut the cord”, do away with fixed networks, and pursue a mobile future. The opportunity certainly exists, with over 1 billion people expected to use mobile technologies as their primary form of Internet access in 2015. However, the extent of fixed-to-mobile substitution (FMS) will be heavily impacted by the current conditions in the broadband market. As such, FMS will only be viable in specific circumstances over the next five years. Emerging markets with no pre-existing fixed-line infrastructure offer the greatest potential for FMS, but affordability in these markets will be crucial. In developed markets, segmentation will be critical to FMS, and low-end users will be the largest target segment.
Executive summary
In a nutshell
Ovum view
Key messages
Recommendations for operators
Mobile-only operators
Integrated operators
Fixed-only operators
Defining broadband FMS
What is mobile broadband?
What is FMS?
Substituting fixed-line potential
Substituting usage
Cutting the cord
How big is the broadband FMS opportunity?
The situation today: Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific offer the greatest potential
Austria is the exception, not the rule in Western Europe
Australia the broadband FMS leader in Asia-Pacific
Eastern Europe sees FMS without the headlines
The situation tomorrow: Ovum’s broadband segmentation model
Future broadband usage: a complicated market to forecast
A global view shows mobile-only on the rise
Regional breakdown highlights the importance of fixed-line unavailability
Identifying customer segments for broadband FMS
Those with no fixed coverage are the largest segment globally
Unavailability of fixed lines is critical in emerging markets
Not all emerging markets are the same
Fixed unavailability presents niche opportunities in developed markets
Low-end users in developed markets
How much speed do you need?
Data consumption is another important facet of usage
Low-end users are not necessarily the best targets
A generational perspective in developed markets
Short-term renters are a varied segment, but can be valuable
Single occupancy and shared accommodation are prime targets, but are temporary
Students are low-value and temporary, but may be loyal in the future
Migrant workers growing in importance around the world
A rural or urban phenomenon?
Business customers unlikely to substitute, but there may be niche SME opportunities
Drivers and barriers to broadband FMS
Drivers and barriers suggest that FMS will be a niche opportunity outside emerging markets
Fixed voice substitution sets a precedent, especially in developed markets
Unavailability of fixed lines
Mobile network capabilities continue to improve
Service cost brings drivers together
Prepaid tariffs will stimulate uptake
Regulation has a major role to play
Device penetration will be vital in emerging markets
Operator choice has the final say
Availability of fixed lines is the key barrier to substitution
Fixed broadband outperforms mobile
Advanced services require high performance
Low-end users are not the most attractive
Mobile coverage is a key barrier
The availability of Wi-Fi can hinder FMS
Mobile is traditionally sold per individual, while fixed is sold per household
User demand for bundles and FMC
Further reading
Ovum Consulting


Table 1: HSPA entry-level services in emerging markets
Table 2: Typical application bandwidth requirements


Figure 1: Forms of broadband FMS
Figure 2: Swedish households broadband access by technology: October 2009
Figure 3: Telecom Italia estimates on growth of big-screen mobile broadband: 2007–10
Figure 4: Asian industry survey responses to the question: What impact will mobile broadband have on the fixed broadband market?
Figure 5: Broadband market segmentation
Figure 6: Global forecast of the number of broadband users by access technology: 2010–15
Figure 7: Forecast of the number of mobile-only broadband users by region: 2010–15
Figure 8: Penetration of mobile-only broadband access among broadband users by region: 2010–15
Figure 9: Fixed broadband penetration and GDP per household: 2008
Figure 10: Fixed broadband penetration and GDP per household for markets with less than 10% fixed broadband penetration: 2008
Figure 11: Australian broadband speed profiles: December 2007–June 2010
Figure 12: Internet connections by download speed in Asia-Pacific: 2Q09
Figure 13: Telecom Italia mobile broadband data consumption by tariff: 2009
Figure 14: Mobile broadband data consumption profiles
Figure 15: UK take-up of mobile broadband by age group: 2010
Figure 16: UK take-up of mobile broadband by age group
Figure 17: UK consumer likelihood of moving to mobile-only broadband by age group
Figure 18: Proportion of mobile-only population in Australia by age group: March 2009
Figure 19: UK take-up of mobile broadband by housing ownership
Figure 20: Austrian broadband users by household size: 1Q09
Figure 21: International migrants as a percentage of population: 2000–10
Figure 22: UK mobile broadband uptake by location
Figure 23: Broadband among businesses in Austria by access technology: 1Q09
Figure 24: Drivers and barriers for broadband FMS
Figure 25: Percentage of US adults and children living in households with mobile-only or no voice services: 2003–09
Figure 26: UK household penetration of fixed and mobile telephony: 2005–10
Figure 27: 3GPP technology evolution path
Figure 28: Austrian broadband pricing: 2008
Figure 29: PC penetration in selected markets: 1998–2010
Figure 30: Smartphone penetration among total mobile connection base: 2008–15
Figure 31: xDSL to FTTH evolution path
Figure 32: Global consumer fixed broadband subscriptions by technology: 2008–15
Figure 33: UK mobile broadband speed benchmark
Figure 34: UK mobile broadband ping test results
Figure 35: UK household penetration of fixed and mobile telephony by socio-economic and age group
Figure 36: Use of Wi-Fi hotspots by location of residence

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