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Data to boost Eastern European mobile revenues

Mobile data boom for Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern European mobile operators can expect their annual service revenues to jump around 30 per cent in the next five years as the value of data revenues doubles.

Forecasts released by analyst house and telecoms.com parent Informa Telecoms & Media this week predict that mobile operators in Central and Eastern Europe will see their annual service revenues top $77bn in 2013.

As the rise in voice revenues levels off from 2011, overall growth will be driven by a doubling in the value of data revenues which will reach $23.4bn in 2013, the analyst said.

The continuing expansion of the mobile subscription base will be a main growth driver, with Informa anticipating a 20 per cent increase, from 447 million at end-2008 to 534 million at end-2013.

“New customers will be signed up in fast-growing markets in Central Asia and the Balkans,” said Abigail Browne, senior analyst at Informa. “But growth will also be fuelled by the increasing tendency for people to maintain two or more SIM cards in active use – in some cases buying the second for a mobile broadband connection.”

This projected rise in mobile broadband connections will see annual mobile data revenues in Central and Eastern Europe increase 107 per cent from $11.3bn in 2008 to $23.4bn in 2013. As a result, the proportion of operators’ revenue generated by data is forecast to increase by more than half, from 19.4 per cent in 2008 to 30.4 per cent by 2013, Informa said.

Meanwhile, voice revenue from existing subscriptions is also expected to rise gradually, with leading Russian operators MTS and VimpelCom already seeing average outgoing and incoming minutes of use (MOU) exceed 200 per subscription per month in 2008, which can be attributed partly to promotions offering low-cost on-net calling.

But Informa warns that the forecasts may be impacted by the ongoing financial crisis with leading operators in Central and Eastern Europe having registered a fall in revenue in 4Q08 reported in US dollars.

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