Mobile Surpasses Wire Lines, But Not Wired Calls in Europe
By Eric Lin, Mon Oct 06 22:00:00 GMT 2003

A new report from the Yankee Group claims mobile phone calls will overtake wireline ones in Europe... eventually.

According to the report, mobile phone numbers have now exceeded landline based numbers in Europe. But despite numerical dominance, less than 50% of calls originate on mobile phones. The Yankee Group places the number somewhere in the very broad range of 20-40%.

The report goes on to state obvious barriers to wireless dominance: cost of both voice and data compared to fixed lines, slower data rates, and the perception that wireless is less reliable. Operators must then work push the convenience of mobile voice and data, while finding the right price point to promote usage if wireless is to truly outpace fixed lines.

Operators should seek to maximize data services and handset personalization in order to make the most of their strengths, the Yankee Group concludes. Are these tactics really eluding the operators? Most US operators certainly push ringtones and customization features of both their handsets and their data services, as do major operators elsewhere.

Since the operators already use these recommendations, it seems the critical issue is cost versus convenience. As costs of wireless voice and data come down, and cost of fixed lines goes up (which they are already) there should be a "tipping point" where the convenience of mobile services outweighs the gap in cost. The question, then, is how far away is that time?