BRUSSELS: Europe is falling behind other markets in the introduction of next-generation mobile technologies, a new study has claimed, which has implications for brands and marketers seeking to reach consumers.
The report, Mobile Economy Europe 2013, from the trade body GSMA, found that the mobile ecosystem generated around 2.1% of the European Union's GDP in 2012 but had seen revenues decline in recent years, from €162bn in 2010 to €151bn in 2012.
Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA said that for many years Europe had been regarded as a pioneer in mobile, but it was now "lagging behind other regions in the deployment of mobile broadband, particularly in 4G/LTE".
She urged an EU-wide telecoms policy that "encourages investment in mobile broadband connectivity, enables innovation and helps build consumer confidence in mobile services".
The report said that, at the end of 2012, LTE (long term evolution) technology accounted for just 0.3% of total devices in Europe. This compared unfavourably with 11% in the US and 28% in South Korea.
But with the number of connected devices in Europe expected to reach 6bn by 2020, the report argued that "connected living" was an important market that could be worth €234bn and add 6% to the region's GDP.
"The adoption of mobile technology in industry sectors such as automotive, commerce, education, health, government and utilities, among others, will create opportunities for new business models and revenue streams, supporting growth, jobs, innovation and sustainability," said the GSMA.
It also highlighted the need for the mobile telecoms industry to proactively address matters such as fraud, spam and privacy concerns and to develop "consistent rules that apply for functionally equivalent services".
Privacy issues are starting to register more with consumers worldwide, as recent surveys have shown US teens, for example, reluctant to download apps or actually uninstalling them because of worries that personal information was being collected without permission.
Data sourced from GSMA; additional content by Warc staff