Mobile data driving force in 2004
(source: EANA Newsletter 2/2004)
For 2004, demand for mobile data services may
replace broadband as a key force for recovery in the electronic
communications sector, the EU Commissioner for Enterprise and the
Information Society, Mr Erkki Liikanen, said in a comment when the
Commission adopted a communication in early February. The report
singles out the implementation of the new regulatory framework for
electronic communications, action to extend broadband coverage in
underserved areas, stimulating demand and the successful roll out
of 3G as top priorities. "If the Union is to maximise the impact
of the information society as the engine for growth, productivity
and jobs, we have to create the right climate for further investment",
Mr Liikanen said.
He stressed that the electronic communications
sector has shown considerable improvements over the last year, largely
due to continuing growth in mobile, broadband and Internet services.
"After two years of consolidation following
the sharp downturn in 2000-2001, conditions now seem right for the
sector to grow more strongly", the Commission says. "The
electronic communications sector expanded modestly in 2003. Revenues
are estimated to have grown by 2.6 per cent, a rate comparable to
that of nominal GDP."
"Most of the overall increase in revenues
came from mobile services, but broadband and Internet services also
continued to expand. The number of broadband connection doubled
in the twelve months to October 2003 to almost 20 million connections
across member states, showing that action continues to be needed
to avoid a widening digital divide", the Commission says adding
that by the end of 2004 more than 40 3G networks should be providing
commercial services fuelled by demand for high speed data access
for e-mails, Internet and online services while on the move.
The European Information Technology Observatory
(EITO) says that the information technology and telecommunications
(ICT) market in Western Europe will grow by 3.1 per cent in 2004
compared to 0.8 per cent in 2003. EITO adds that in terms of ICT
spending, central and Eastern Europe is one of the world´s
most dynamic regions. Its ICT maret should increase by more than
eight percentage points in 2004 to Euro 42 billion.
The Commission has proposed a new Euro 163 million
program, eContentplus (2005-2008), to support the development of
multi-lingual content for innovative, online services across the
EU. The idea is that such content should help to drive demand for
Forrester Research says that the fastest growing
segments of Western Europe´s Internet population now are found
in France, Italy and Spain. They are now closing the gap to for
instance the Nordic countries and the UK. 45 per cent of the adult
Italian population access the Internet from work or home at least
once a month. For France the figure is 41 per cent and 29 per cent
for Spain while the figure for the UK is 60 per cent and 59 per
cent for Germany.
UK firm Continental Research says that the number
of broadband users in the UK will grow from 3.6 million to 5 million
at the end of 2004. 30 per cent of dial-up users said that they
are interested in upgrading to a faster connection in 2004. 12.6
million homes in the UK are connected to the Internet.
Research firm ScreenDigest also predicts a strong
growth of high-speed broadband in the UK saying that in 2008 a total
of 12.7 million households in the UK will have broadband taking
the lead over Germany with 12.6 million and France with 10.8 million.
Italy will have 7.59 million and Spain 7.58 million.
A total of 7.8 billion of Internet video streams
were accessed during 2003, up 104 per cent compared to 2002, according
to a study by US firm AccuStream iMedia Research. 33 per cent of
the videos were music, 28 per cent news and 17 per cent sports.
78 per cent of the videos were viewed at broadband rates.
Close to 500 000 hotel rooms around the world
will have high-speed Internet connection at the end of 2004, says
market research firm In-Stat/MDR. Hotels in the US are in the lead
with European colleagues catching up - many of them introducing
Wi-Fi to provide access in the hotel room without cables.