Mobile Voice Volume will Overtake Fixed in Western Europe in 2008

For the first time, the volume of mobile voice calls will exceed that on traditional fixed networks in Western Europe as a whole, says telecoms analyst Analysys Research. Analysys expects this milestone to take occur by the end of summer this year.

Analysys Research’s Telecoms Market Matrix shows that the proportion of call minutes made from mobiles has increased by 1.4 percentage points each quarter over the last year.

In the UK, where patterns of consumption are close to the European average, mobile voice usage should overtake fixed voice in the second quarter of 2008.

In France, mobile voice usage has already surpassed that of fixed voice, and keeps growing despite the widespread availability of practically free voice over broadband.

On the other hand, mobile voice is not expected to overtake fixed voice in the Italian market until the first quarter of 2009, and the German market – the largest in Western Europe – will not experience this phenomenon for about two years, at current rates of substitution.

“Developed countries tend to have very stable demand for voice,” says Andrew Parkin-White, Prinical Analyst at Analysys Research, “although the volume varies quite significantly between individual countries; perhaps surprisingly, Northern Europeans are generally the most talkative.”

According to Analysys Research’s figures, Portugal, having the lowest voice consumption in Western Europe, was the first country in which mobile overtook fixed, while Sweden, which has one of the highest, will be among the last to change.

“Consumers have relatively constant budgets for voice, and so fixed voice volumes basically reflect the unaffordability of mobile voice. The trick for mobile operators has been to translate stable demand into an affordable proposition – once mobile can meet demand affordably, any kind of competitive pricing for voice on fixed or broadband is largely irrelevant,” explains Rupert Wood, Principal Analyst at Analysys Research.

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