In a new report, the independent telecoms analyst firm Ovum states that 2012 will be a watershed year for the global fixed telecommunications market. Global household broadband revenues (US$181 billion) will overtake household voice revenues (US$159 billion) for the first time, according to Ovum.
The Asia-Pacific region achieved this several years ago, but it will reach a new milestone in 2012 as home broadband revenues (US$68 billion) will be more than twice as large as home voice revenues (US$31 billion). This is a reflection of the popularity of mobile voice and fixed broadband in the Asian market.
In addition, Ovum forecasts that the total number of Asia-Pacific consumer fixed telephone lines will decline by 23 per cent between 2011 and 2016, falling from 299 million in 2011 to just 230 million in 2016. In contrast, the total number of Asia-Pacific consumer fixed broadband lines will grow 45% over the same period, from 250 million in 2011 to 362 million in 2016.
Ovum analyst Charlie Davies commented: "Our research reveals the extent to which the fixed voice telecoms market is shrinking and just how important broadband has become to the telecoms industry".
Global FTTH/B broadband connections will total 226 million in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 22% over the forecast period. In 2016, Asia-Pacific will have the lion's share of these connections, with approximately 180 million FTTH/B subscribers. China will account for 63% of the Asian total. FTTH/B broadband connections will be the main driver of fixed broadband growth in the Asia-Pacific region in coming years.
"Next year, telcos will generate more consumer revenues from fixed broadband than from telephone lines for the first time. This will be driven by consumers continuing to shun their landline in favor of the mobile phone and the greater need for fixed broadband in the home to meet the demands of increasing video traffic, more applications and content in the cloud and more connected devices. The rise of Internet-based voice services such as Skype will also play a significant role".
"However, broadband revenue growth alone will not be sufficient to offset the decline in fixed voice revenues due to the investment needed for next-generation access networks and software. This underlines the need for telcos to find a role and further revenues from new service lines."
According to the report, entertainment (TV, gaming and music) represents a significant opportunity for telcos to drive revenue growth, particularly in the form of on-demand content. Davies added: "The way that telcos approach this vertical will evolve rapidly as they learn to exploit partnerships with popular brands more effectively."
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