Data traffic on Western Europe’s mobile networks rose by 39% between 2011 and 2012, to 3,077 exabytes, according to a new report from ABI Research.
According to Marina Lu, a research associate at ABI, some 50% of subscribers in Western Europe are now on data plans and “making full use of it”.
With 4G “still attempting to find its feet”, 3G accounted for 64% of total traffic.
Despite the surging use of mobile data services, operators remain under serious pressure in other areas.
Satellite television provider Dish Networks has made an offer to buy Clearwire that tops Sprint’s bid to take full control of the beleaguered mobile broadband company.
Dish’s offer values Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) at $3.30 a share, considerably more than the $2.97 that Sprint (Overland Park, USA) has offered for the 50% of Clearwire shares it does not already own.
Dish’s proposal also includes an offer to buy a substantial swathe of Clearwire’s spectrum for about $2.2 billion.
Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam has reportedly once again raised the prospect of buying Vodafone out of Verizon Wireless, saying the move is feasible if not absolutely necessary.
In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, McAdam said Verizon (New York, USA) “would love to own all of that asset”, but insisted the partnership between Verizon and Vodafone (Newbury, UK) was functioning well.
Verizon controls 55% of Verizon Wireless, with Vodafone owning the remainder.
T-Mobile USA has launched a $70-a-month no-contract offer that promises an “unlimited nationwide 4G data” service to customers.
Unveiled at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the deal follows T-Mobile’s announcement last month that it would stop subsidising smartphones in 2013.
Under new arrangements, customers will be required to pay substantial upfront fees for their devices, but will benefit from much lower monthly tariffs.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said on Monday it could take months to finalize his plans to enter the wireless industry because of regulatory and technology complications, but his company has no intention of selling spectrum it spent billions acquiring.
The cable service provider received regulatory approval to use its spectrum for wireless services in December. But Dish (Meridian, USA) has still not made clear whether it will build a wireless network on its own, or offer a service in partnership with other companies.
A large Clearwire Corp shareholder on Friday stepped up its campaign against the planned sale of the wireless service provider to its majority owner, Sprint Nextel Corp, saying it plans to ask the U.S. telecoms regulator to block the deal.
Crest Financial's general counsel also said on a call with reporters that it will ask the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to block Sprint's plan to sell 70 percent of itself to Softbank Corp (Tokyo, Japan) of Japan for $20 billion.
French mobile-phone operator plans to maintain capital expenditure at a 2012 level of between €1.5 billion and €1.6 billion this year, according to a report in France’s Les Echos newspaper.
The operator reportedly plans to increase spending on mobile networks while reducing investments elsewhere.
Much of the capital expenditure is likely to go towards expanding the reach of SFR’s LTE networks, following the launch of commercial LTE services last November.
South Korea’s operators have launched joyn services in a bid to reclaim ground lost to ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) players, although there is some confusion over whether services are yet interoperable between the three companies.
In a press release on its website, SK Telecom (Seoul, South Korea) said that customers can now make use of joyn services like ‘Rich Call’ and ‘Rich Messaging’ – under the joyn.T brand – allowing images to be exchanged during voice calls and SMS to be used with more instant messaging features.
Mobile broadband revenues are forecast to grow at an annual rate of 19.2% and generate $122.9 billion in incremental revenue between 2013 and 2016 in new research from Ovum.
Despite these impressive gains, overall operator revenues are forecast to increase little over the next five years from a 2012 estimate of about $2 trillion.
Europe has fallen behind the United States in mobile telephone network development because its regulatory framework is fragmented and does not provide incentives for investment, the head of Norwegian telecoms group Telenor told Reuters.
European fourth-generation (4G) network frequencies are too expensive, the investment cost is high and operators, particularly in countries affected by drawn out recessions, lack the pricing power to make the investment worthwhile, Chief Executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas said in an interview.