11/07/2013 - OECD countries must ensure mobile markets remain open and competitive in order to sustain innovation and meet rising demand for data services, according to a new OECD report.
Communications Outlook 2013 says that revenues from data services are growing at double-digit rates in most OECD countries and, in line with the surge of broadband wireless subscriptions, are now the main source of growth for network operators. But many will increasingly need to rely on offloading traffic to fixed networks, as demand tests the available spectrum.
Policy makers and regulators might need to intervene to ensure there is enough supply to meet demand, especially in countries or areas where there is insufficient fixed access network competition.
Just as critical is the level of facilities based competition among mobile networks. France and Israel’s mobile markets have become more competitive after the entry of new mobile network operators. The Czech Republic and The Netherlands are both introducing additional operators. Meanwhile, in Canada and the United States, the authorities acted to head off mergers that would have resulted in less facilities based mobile network competition. The outcomes will be at least four national operators in all these countries.
Wireless and fixed broadband subscriptions in OECD countries
Note: Data for Wireless broadband from 2001 to 2007 are estimates.
Prices for mobile voice services have decreased markedly from 2010 to 2012, showing significant declines across all consumption patterns, says the report. A laptop-based wireless broadband basket (offers within the 500 MB per month range) costs USD 13.04 on average across the OECD in PPP terms, although it reaches USD 30 in some countries. Average expenditure was USD 37.15 PPP for a 10 GB basket. A 250 MB tablet package cost USD 11.02 PPP per month on average and a 5 GB basket for tablets cost USD 24.88 PPP on average.
The Communications Outlook 2013 also highlights the urgent need to move forward with IPv6 in order to keep wireless markets open to new entrants and meet demand. Asia Pacific and Europe have run out of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses under normal procedures. Africa, North America and South America will use up their allocated address space in due time. IPv6 allows a virtually unlimited number of addresses but although over half the equipment deployed on the wired Internet is capable of supporting IPv6 today, less than 1% of this equipment connects to a service that provides IPv6.
For comment or further information, journalists should contact Agustin Diaz-Pines (tel. + 33 1 45 24 19 62 or agustin.diaz-pines@ oecd.org) or Sam Paltridge (tel. + 33 1 45 24 93 79 or email@example.com) of the OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry directorate.