Over just a few decades, mobile communication has become one of the largest and most significant platforms, with six billion connections and transforming the way we communicate and access information, entertainment and the internet. Now, a new wave of connectivity is on the horizon where everyone and everything around us that might benefit from a wireless connection . We are about to see connected cars, buildings, medical monitors, TVs, game consoles and a whole range of connected consumer electronics and household appliances. Many of these will be connected wirelessly and intelligently, communicating and interacting with each other, thereby creating the connected life. Beyond connectivity, mobile operators will play a crucial role in working together with a range of industry partners in health, automotive, education, smart cities and a range of vertical industries to accelerate the launch of valuable connected services.
Mobile networks play a pivotal role in the development of the connected life providing a scalable, standardised global platform to support the growing demand for intelligent, secure connectivity. New connected wireless devices are set to surpass the number of mobile handsets over the coming decade and create significant new business opportunities for mobile operators, vendors and industry partners. Machina research estimates that by 2017, there will be over 10 billion cellular connections . Almost half the population of the earth now uses mobile communications.
A billion mobile subscribers were added in the last 4 years to leave the total standing at 3.2 billion. There are still many adults and young people who would appreciate the social and economic benefits of mobile technology but are unable to access it, highlighting a huge opportunity for future growth and a challenge to all players in the industry ecosystem to expand the scope of products and services to tap this demand. Despite challenging economic headwinds in many regions, the market is expected to grow even more strongly on the dimension of connections over the next five years, with 3 billion additional connections expected to be added between 2012 and 2017, a growth rate of 7.6% p.a. Given this dynamism, it is no surprise that the mobile industry makes a substantial economic contribution, with mobile operators alone expected to contribute 1.4% to global GDP in 2012 and their revenues expected to grow at a robust 2.3% p.a. to reach US$1.1 trillion by 2017.
Mobile infrastructure is now as important to a country’s economy as its energy grid or transportation network – it is a key enabling infrastructure that drives and supports growth in the wider economy. The high level of investment is needed to continue the development of this infrastructure so that capacity can be built to meet the ever growing demand and so that new services can be launched which bring greater benefits to the wider economy . Emerging markets are the major engines of mobile connection and subscriber growth – in particular Asia Pacific will add nearly half of all new connections between now and 2017 (1.4 billion).[sociallocker]
Network operators are continuing to develop strong value propositions to deliver new and innovative services to users. As technology continues to evolve, so the mobile ecosystem has built new business models to deliver new services in communications and adjacent services. Mobile remains a vibrant and evolving industry constantly finding new ways to inter-connect the user’s world in spheres such as automotive, utilities, health and education, and new ways to manage financial transactions. In emerging markets, growth will be driven by the increased penetration of smart phones, while in developed markets it will be driven by both greater Smartphone adoption and increased download speeds made possible by new technology such as 4G .The mobile industry has always made a significant contribution to public funding. By 2017, its contribution to public funding is projected to be US$550 billion – as a result of spectrum fees as well as direct and indirect taxes. It is important that this level of financial commitment should be structured in a fair and predictable manner, in order to protect growth and employment.
As quoted by Douglas Adams “First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure.” but before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all. Today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighbourhood into a world – wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.[/sociallocker]