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Next-Gen technologies drive growth in consumer telecom market: Study

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MUMBAI: As Internet Protocol (IP) technology becomes more pervasive in the telecommunications industry, next-generation services is increasingly driving growth in the consumer market. Although regulatory constraints and dwindling fixed-line revenues are key challenges for service providers, renewed focus on 3G (Third Generation) services, convergence and multimedia should enable them to stay ahead of competition.

New analysis from global growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan, Service Providers' Consumer Strategies Revealed in Asia Pacific, reveals that 3G, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and WiMAX (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) are perceived as key revenue generators for service providers. In fact, most service providers have invested heavily into deploying these technologies, states an official release.

"Growth in the Asia Pacific consumer telecommunications market will revolve around wireless, IPTV (Internet Protocol television), and other multimedia services," explains Frost & Sullivan research analyst Aravind Venkatesh. "Moving forward, service providers will continue to leverage on key next-generation technologies such as WiMAX, IPTV and VoIP to offer innovative service packages to customers."

Due to declining fixed-line revenues, service providers in developed markets have to consider next-generation technologies such as 3G, wireless broadband access, IPTV and VoIP to drive revenue growth. While service providers in China and India are anxious to deploy 3G services, their counterparts in South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong are looking at media-rich 3G applications to boost revenues.

The key challenge for all service providers in the consumer space is to maximize voice revenue and increase ARPU (average revenue per user) in the midst of increasing competition.

Intense competition and product commoditization have resulted in service providers finding it difficult to increase ARPU and reduce customer churn. Regulatory barriers delaying the deployment of 3G services in markets like India and China have also fettered service providers. Fixed-line service providers face the dual challenge of declining fixed-line revenues and increasing fixed-to-mobile substitution, the release adds.

"Regulatory barriers and spectrum allocation issues have been major hindrances to the rapid deployment of 3G services in some developing markets in Asia," explains Venkatesh. "Delays in introducing regulatory frameworks have hampered the launch of innovative services based on new access technologies."

Innovative value-added services and lower price points are key differentiators in the fixed-line telephony segment. Fixed-line service providers should add value to their core services by offering bundled applications at competitive prices. Service providers in high growth markets such as India, China, Thailand and the Philippines can also explore new revenue streams by exploiting the largely untapped rural segment.

The service providers' consumer strategies revealed in Asia Pacific study is part of the Communications Services subscription. It evaluates the competitive landscape, including key partnerships and alliances, service portfolio and product strategies, and marketing and pricing strategies of seven leading telecom service providers in the region. The study also offers an in-depth analysis of the service providers' growth strategies in the consumer segment. The leading service providers examined as part of the study are: Bharti Airtel, Chunghwa Telecom, KT, PCCW, StarHub, Telstra and True Corporation.

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