In mature telecom markets, most carriers have faced saturation in customer bases and slow revenues growths in the past five years. The top-4 carriers in the US, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, together only achieved total revenues growth of US$24.4 billion from 2008-2012 with a CAGR of 2.28%, implying that increasing customer numbers should no longer be the focus of the mature telecom markets. The focus instead must be on increasing the value to be contributed by customers, according to Digitimes Research.
The 4G LTE era has seen significant improvements to transmission speeds with the fee rates for related services also seeing structural changes. As mobile multimedia services are able to create high data transmission flows, the LTE broadcast business, which allows telecom carriers to be the main host of the services, has attracted much interest in the telecom sector.
Digitimes Research believes the LTE broadcast business will have three major advantages in terms of development. First, it is 3GPP's evolved-multimedia broadcast multicast services (eMBMS) standard, which is able to enhance spectrum utilization and supports up to 20MHz.
The second is that LTE broadcast services are able to optimize spectrum usage by distributing spectrum resources based on telecom network's loading. The third is the support of multimedia codecs such as HEVC and MPEG-Dash to help reduce loading on network bandwidths and strengthen usage experience.
The fee rates for 4G services, which are based on the transmission volumes, should benefit from the surging data flow demand and start contributing revenues to carriers. As more countries will start commercial LTE network services, the potential the LTE broadcast business has started gaining much attention.
Among the telecom carriers worldwide, only Korea Telecom (KT) started offering commercial LTE broadcast services in January 2014, while others are mostly still conducting pilot runs because such services require coordination between hardware, the mobile network, and content supply.
Although equipment suppliers are aggressive about such a business opportunity, telecom carriers remain cautious. Therefore, Digitimes Research believes that for the LTE broadcast business to grow to a large-scale commercial sector it will still take some time. For many telecom carriers, it is in their medium- to long-term plans.