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Digital Communications Market Report 2013
Posted: 08-Feb-2013 [Source: Research and Markets]

[Mobile connections now outnumber fixed residential lines by two to one. The resulting competition is driving a trend toward more affordable devices and lower cost service plans, according to this report.]

Dublin -- The digital communications market has become increasingly dominated by mobile connections, which now outnumber fixed residential telecommunications lines by around two to one. This particular trend has been driven by the rising uptake of Internet-based mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers. Around 50% of UK consumers are now thought to own a smartphone, while tablet ownership was estimated to have grown five-fold between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 from just 2% to 11%, according to figures compiled by Ofcom.

As a result, the mobile telecommunications market has become increasingly competitive, with many network operators now offering highly-discounted deals or low-cost tariffs to customers. Tablet computers have also become more affordable to the majority of consumers, who may have previously been priced out of the market, following Amazon's entry into the market, with its low-cost tablet alternative, the Kindle Fire, which was launched in October 2012.

The emergence of different communications channels has also had a significant impact on the digital communications market in recent years. The majority of Internet-connected devices, including smartphones and tablets, now offer a wide range of applications, which allow users to check their e-mail, make calls, send texts and visit their favourite social networking sites. As a result, an increasing tendency towards non-voice communications channels, particularly text messaging, has become noticeable.

Indeed, according to Ofcom's 2012 The Communications Market Report, as of Q1 2012, text-based communications were found to be surpassing more traditional methods of contact, such as telephone calls, as the most frequent method of keeping in touch among adults, with the average consumer now sending around 50 texts per week a figure that has almost doubled over the past 4 years. Other non-voice communications channels, including social networking; e-mail; voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), such as Skype; and instant messaging services, including MSN, have also become increasingly popular.

In spite of the ongoing rollout of superfast broadband across the UK, which is currently being backed by a £530 investment on the part of the Government, along with the imminent launch of fourth generation (4G) mobile telecommunication within the country, revenue generated by both fixed and mobile voice are likely to continue to decline. Although some growth is expected to be seen within mobile messaging and data packages, and broadband and narrowband services, this is likely to do little to offset the overall decline within the telecommunications market. As a result, telecommunications operators are expected to seek out new areas of growth, such as digital services including VoIP solutions, e.g. Microsoft's Skype.

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