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Voice Calls and SMS are Feeling the Pinch but Mobile Carriers Fight back, Says ABI Research

“Western Europe’s mobile subscribers racked up 3,077 Exabytes in data traffic by the end of 2012, up 39% compared to 2011. 3G data usage contributed 64% of the total as 4G is still attempting to find its feet. 50% of Western Europe has a 3G data plan and they are making full use of it,” commented Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

While mobile data usage is gathering pace, a number of other metrics are very much in retreat. In most countries around Europe, minutes of use has contracted up to 4.5% quarter-on-quarter. Similarly, text messaging was down between -0.5% and -7.8% for those countries QoQ. As ABI Research’s Mobile ARPU Market Data has shown, monthly average revenue for Western Europe continued to decline in 3Q-2012. This can be partly attributed to the economic climate but there are structural shifts in mobile end-user behavior.

Operators like Orange are responding to the threat. Orange will be launching in early 2013 a Rich Content Service, called “Joyn”. Joyn is intended to help operators go beyond outdated circuit-switched voice and SMS to embrace IP-based instant messaging, live video sharing, file transfer, and just as crucially, SNS integration. Orange has rolled-out a click-to-call function in collaboration with Facebook, called “Party Call”. This service will be available from 1Q-2013 and will allow users to call friends from within Facebook. The carrier will also be launching a VoIP and IP Messaging app called LibOn. “If you can’t beat them, then ‘Joyn’ them,” said Jake Saunders, VP – Forecasting. “Excuse the pun, but carriers do need to make sure they stay relevant to their customers in an OTT world.”

The “Mobile Data Traffic & Usage” Market Data provides an in-depth resource of traffic and end-user related metrics at a global, regional, and mobile carrier level. These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Traffic (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/mobile-traffic/) Database.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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