Data revenue is a ‘way out’ for mobile companies

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By Fotis Fotinos

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The continuation of the gradual rise of the domestic mobile telephony market is evidenced by the latest data from EEKT (Association of Mobile Telephony Companies). The domestic mobile market has been on the rise since the second quarter of 2021, when service revenue started to pick up, which has continued into early 2022.

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In the first quarter of 2022, the market saw a revenue increase of 1.3% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2021. In the quarter under review, data revenue increased by 16.7% and service revenue (which includes data revenue) by 3.5%.

In contrast, revenue from voice services fell by 5.59% and revenue from messages fell by 0.3%.

Data and investments are moving upwards

In the main “pillar” of revenues, services, revenues reached 458 million euros, from 442 million euros a year earlier, showing – as mentioned above – an increase of 3.5%.

However, compared to the immediately preceding quarter (Q4 2021), service revenue moved to lower levels, a trend that “traditionally” repeats itself in the 1st quarter of each year.

In the remaining categories, data revenue increased by 16.7% and roaming revenue almost doubled (89.7%), compared to the corresponding quarter of 2021, due to the easing of travel restrictions.

Tellingly, data revenue accounted for 34.8% of service revenue in Q1 this year, up from 30.9% last year.

Also, the quarter under review saw a significant increase in data (39.3%) and voice minutes (6.3%) volumes compared to the previous year.

As a result, the data usage rate reached 4.53 GB per month per active subscriber, from 3.16 GB in Q1 2021. On the other hand, revenue from voice and messaging services decreased by 5.5% and by 0 .3% respectively.

Regarding the sector’s investments, these amounted to 95 million euros, increased by 26% from the previous year. As a percentage of service revenue, investment was 20.7%. The industry also invested €25 million or 5.5% of service revenue in research and development (R&D). In the next period, intensive investments by companies are expected, both in optical fiber networks and in 5G.

Prices are being squeezed

The figures from both ELSTAT, EEKT and EETT show price compression in telecommunications, with the sector “resisting” intense inflationary pressures for the benefit of the consumer.

From the beginning of 2022, according to ELSTAT, the prices of telecommunication services (both in fixed networks and in mobile telephony) will decline compared to the previous year.

In January 2022 and even before the war in Ukraine broke out, prices had fallen by 3.2%, in May by 2.3% and in June by 2.1% compared to the corresponding month last year. Accordingly, according to EECT, in the first three months of the year, pre-tax prices for voice decreased by 11.1%, while for data by 16.2%, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2021.

According to EETT, providers’ revenues from data services in 2021 reached 566.8 million euros, and with total traffic reaching 577 million GB, costs fell to 0.98 euros per GB.

In particular, in the first half of 2021, mobile operators collected 261 million euros, using 226.6 million GB, while in the second half, which also included the increased summer traffic, 350.2 million GB were recorded, with revenues of 305 million euros.

In 2019, a total of 230.7 million GB were consumed, which generated €434 million in revenue for providers, or €1.88 per GB. That is, in the period 2019-2021 the price per GB fell by almost 50%.

Smartphone sales are declining

Regarding the sales of mobile telephony devices, and in particular smartphones, the decline in sales continues at the global level. According to preliminary data from International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone sales fell for the fourth straight quarter, falling 8.7% in the second quarter of the year (smartphone shipments fell to 286 million .units).

“What started out as a ‘supply-constrained industry’ earlier this year has turned into a ‘demand-constrained market’. While supply has improved as global production capacity has increased, inflation and economic uncertainty have severely reduced consumer spending and increased inventories in all regions”, states, in its related report, the IDC.

“While we expect demand to start to pick up in some regions towards the end of the year, the outlook for the 2022 smartphone market will certainly be revised. We continue to believe that any decline today is not lost demand, but merely time-shifted.” , is underlined in the same report.

In terms of market shares, the ranking of manufacturers did not change in Q2 2022. Samsung held the top spot with a 21.8% share and “healthy growth” in all regions except Europe.

Apple came in second with a 15.6% share, Xiaomi took third, and vivo and OPPO tied for fourth place, with 8.7% and 8.6% respectively.

Source: Capital

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