Carriers Relying on Voice over LTE Services to Improve Margins as Traditional Minutes of Use Decline

Oyster Bay, New York - 07 Sep 2012

​Mobile operators are increasingly coming under pressure to improve mobile telecom service profit margins as well as bring in new services to counter the competition from Over the Top (OTT) services such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, and FaceTime. Mobile operators have had limited options with 3G but 4G LTE should give the mobile operators some new tools.

In 2Q 2012, minutes of use showed the greatest declines compared to 2011 in Asia-Pacific (-7.36%), Africa (-6.3%), Western Europe (-2.32%), and North America (-2.12%). “The only regions with any significant positive growth were the Middle East (8.5%) and Latin America (5.87%),” said Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. LTE does not just transform the delivery of broadband data, it also can enrich voice services. SK Telecom, Korea’s largest operator, launched out the world’s first VoLTE services on 8 August, 2012. More recently, LG U+ in South Korea and MetroPCS Communications in the US have also introduced Voice over LTE.

“Messages Sent” is keeping stable in Q2 2012 compared to last quarter, with Q-on-Q increase rate of 0.16% in Asia Pacific, 0.14% in North America, 0.18% in Western Europe. In contrast, mobile data traffic continues its rapid increase with 13.4 Exabytes to be consumed through 2012, while over the forecast period the mobile data traffic could potentially reach 110 Exabytes by 2017, with a CAGR over the 2012-2017 of 53.4%. Overall global 4G traffic has a CAGR of 147.5%, compared to 3G traffic which has a CAGR of only 69.6%.

“For voice communications, VoLTE enables rich media content to be overlaid over voice, while the packetized delivery of the voice data allows for greater cost of service savings”, added Jake Saunders, vice-president for forecasting. Voice over LTE services might help operators to retain a competitive portion of the mobile voice over IP market.

The “Mobile Data Traffic & Usage” market data tracks mobile data, voice, and messaging usage on a quarterly basis as well as provides country and regional level forecasts. These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Traffic Research Service which includes Research Reports, Market Data, Insights, and Competitive Assessments.

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, or call +1.516.624.2500.


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