The mobile industry in Europe has fallen behind other regions due to revenue decline and the comparatively slow roll out of 4G LTE technology, new research claims.
According to the GSMA’s Mobile Economy Europe 2013 report, published on Thursday, Europe is the only region in the world suffering from revenues decline – from €162 billion in 2010 to €151 billion in 2012.
This is despite the fact that Europe has the world’s highest unique subscriber penetration rate of 79 percent.
Further, LTE accounted for just 0.3 percent of total devices in Europe at the end of 2012, compared to 11 percent in the US and 28 percent in South Korea.
This reinforces research issued by the GSMA and Navigant Economics in May, which showed that growth in investment in the US is translating into faster data connections.
“Europe was long viewed as a pioneer in mobile, but, as this report illustrates, is now lagging behind other regions in the deployment of mobile broadband, particularly in 4G/LTE,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA.
“Despite this, the mobile industry can play a key role in the European recovery, but this will require policy that encourages investment in mobile broadband connectivity, enables innovation and helps build consumer confidence in mobile services. This should be at the heart of the Commission’s planned proposals on a single telecoms market.”
The EC is due to announce its plans for a single telecoms market next week.
“Clearly, the focus needs to be on stimulating investment to achieve long-term economic growth,” continued Bouverot.
“The move to a Connected Life, where nearly everything and everyone are connected, presents an important opportunity for Europe to regain its leadership position.
“Collectively, we must create an environment that will attract and nurture investment in mobile. The single telecoms market initiative presents an important opportunity to enable this and we must get it right.”
According to the report, the mobile “ecosystem” generated approximately 2.1 per cent of GDP for the EU.
At the GSMA’s Mobile 360 event in Brussels on Thursday, Franco Bernabe said he wanted to “re-establish” Europe as a leader in mobile on the world stage.