Mobile broadband rings in the cash

GROWTH: Mobile broadband only telecoms area to grow.

SPANISH telecoms operators are feeling the pinch this year as the recession continues and the competition hots up. Earnings are falling, but there is light at the end of the tunnel; mobile broadband is the only area of growth”

“Mobile broadband continues to be the only service with growing revenues,” Bernardo Lorenzo, president of the Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT), said.

Trends seen last year, which resulted in total revenue for the sector falling 7.2 per cent to €35.2 billion have continued into 2013, Lorenzo said at a presentation of the regulator’s 2012 report.

While the rest of the sector has been hit by the economic crisis and unemployment rate, mobile broadband recorded a 29 per cent rise in total revenue to €2.8 billion last year.

More than 352,000 people signed up for new fixed broadband connections last year, but the sector’s total revenue dropped by 4.6 per cent to €3.7 billion, the regulator said.

Mobile is set for another tough year, with Orange, Yoigo (owned by TeliaSonera) and virtual operators, which rent network capacity from established operators, catching up with market leaders Telefonica and Vodafone who are losing clients.

Mobile revenue dropped 16 per cent in 2012 to €9.5 billion as consumers cut spending, switched to cheaper deals or ditched their mobiles altogether. Last year was the first time that the number of cellphone lines in Spain shrank, dropping by 1.9 million connections.

Internet-based instant messaging services, which are free after a small initial payment, are proving even more of a challenge for operators this year, Lorenzo said.

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