The Development Of Mobile Telephony Essay Research — страница 3
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Telephony-Market overveiw-1997). The high growth rates in mobile telephony are almost universal, with no sign of a ’saturation point’ being reached. The Nordic countries, (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark), have consistently led the world in mobile phone penetration. In fact, by mid 1996, more than 25% of all Swedes had a mobile phone. Meanwhile, new mobile networks are being opened all the time, both in the most developed countries and in the developing world. In the most developed markets, new operators are competing aggressively to capture the consumer market for mobile telephones, positioning the mobile telephone as a genuine, and much more convenient alternative to owning a normal wired telephone. In developing countries, the mobile telephone market is often given a boost by the poor state of the fixed telephone network: business user’s who must have a telephone will choose a mobile phone, rather than waiting months or even years for a fixed line connection. So what is driving the phenomenal growth in mobile telephony? There are four main factors, with complex inter-relationships. A wave of deregulation and reregulation has been sweeping through the world’s telecommunications network operators since the 1980’s. One event of major importance was the break up of AT&T in 1984, which saw the formation of seven Regional Bell Operating companies. Today, the 1996 Telecommunications Act defines a relatively free market, in which the traditional boundaries between wireline and wireless operators, and between local and long distance operators, no longer exist.Throughout Europe, the European Commission is driving the abolition of state telecoms monopolies. Governments are responding by privatising, or preparing to privatise their national telecoms monopolies, and allowing new competitors to set up rival services. However, traditional telecommunications services, such as the fixed telephone network, have proved difficult to deregulate. The existing networks owned by monopoly operators represent huge investments: and state telecoms firms successfully argue that they perform a social service by providing lines to subscribers in outlying area’s, at economic rates. Deregulation has been much faster, and had much greater effects in newer area’s of telecommunications. One of the best examples is mobile communications. In many countries mobile communications have provided an ideal test-bed for deregulation, to see what could be achieved by freeing the market from the constraints of a monopoly, and allowing operators to compete, as far as possible, on a level playing field. There is a striking correlation between the arrival of a competitive market in mobile telephony, and the take off in growth of subscribers. In countries where mobile telephony was provided by a monopoly, subscriber growth has been low, but as soon as competitors appear on the scene, the market began to grow very rapidly. One of the best examples of this is Japan. Here, mobile telephony was a monopoly throughout the 1980’s. Costs were high, and the attractions of the service were lessened by the fact that subscribers could only lease phones from the operators, they could not buy them. In consequence, both market penetration and growth were very low. In the early 1990’s, deregulation and competition began to take effect in Japan. Two new operators were licensed to provide digital cellular services in newly-allocated radio frequency bands, and finally, in April 1994, the terminal market was deregulated. Today with the new digital networks on line, the Japanese market is experiencing very rapid growth. Another example comes from Germany, where Deutsche Bundespost Telekom (DBT) was the monopoly operator of the countries analogue ‘C-Netz’. Partly because of capacity problems, C-Netz prices were kept very high, and subscriber numbers remained around 200,000 until 1992. In that year two networks operating the GSM digital standard, came into service. The ‘D1′ network was operated by DBT, but ‘D2′ was operated by a new company, Mannesmann Mobelfunk GmbH – the first direct competitor to DBT’s monopoly of telecommunications services. A further competitor E-Pus, which uses DCS 1800 digital technology, came on line in May 1995. The arrival of the digital networks released huge pent-up demand for mobile telephony in Germany. Prices fell, and the total subscriber base was approaching five million by mid 1996. Side-by-side with competition has grown sophisticated marketing of mobile telephone services. The first 5-7 per cent of cellular phone penetration is largely composed of business users, who are relatively insensitive to price considerations.