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TelecomsPricing highlights the changes in Mobile services worldwide since the start of 2018 – thanks to the TCL Tariff SnapShot subscription service

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" TelecomsPricing reviews key trends in mobile services with its SnapShot series looking at the mobile trends worldwide since the start of 2018. " 

At the end of 2017, Telecoms Pricing forecast the key mobile trends to impact mobile services in 2018, with the 10 key trends identified for 2018:

Trend 1: Will international roaming rates decline to national rates as in Europe?
Trend 2: Will integrated bundles (calls, SMS & Mobile Data) become established outside Europe?
Trend 3: New types of smartphone deposit & usage in developing markets, similar to the Jio Phone
Trend 4: 4G LTE price levels will continue to decline over time
Trend 5: Mobile operators are starting to add content bundles
Trend 6: Mobile Data bundles are being used as the main determinant of pricing
Trend 7: Increased PrePay and PostPay bundle convergence 
Trend 8:Special MNO services and promotions for online users 
Trend 9: Self-provision apps are being introduced by the MNO
Trend 10: Are MNOs to use other content services as a differentiator


Most of the mobile trends identified in 2018 are an evolution of existing trends. For example, within Europe roaming has come into line with national pricing, with bundles of mobile data roaming now being added on selected routes (including the US, Canada & other destinations) as part of a Post Pay bundle. 

For forecast Trend No.2, Integrated bundles (including calls, SMS & mobile data) are becoming more commonplace outside of Europe & North America, with examples of new bundles being launched in the Asia Pacific region with large mobile data allowances. 

Forecast Trend No. 3 - the introduction of innovative low cost handset financing models (following the example of India’s JioPhone) - has been slower to emerge. In SnapShot 107 & SnapShot 118, Telecoms Pricing examined the Smartphone promotions being made by MNOs to coincide with the Samsung Galaxy 9 & Apple iPhone XR devices. 

It discovered that a variety of financing models are now being used to support the premium Smartphone segment. MNOs are resorting back to handset subsidies based on 24, 30 or 36 month contract terms to spread the device purchase cost. 

In forecast Trend No. 4, Telecom Pricing forecast that LTE Pricing levels would continue to decline. Evidence is mixed, as MNOs are off-setting the decline in pricing by adding additional mobile data allowances in order to retain a particular price point. A bundle of up to 100 GB of data is becoming more common worldwide as a premium bundle. 

As for forecast Trend No. 5, content bundles (including TV, film, social networking or music) are being provided by selected MNOs either as a short-term promotion or as a long-term premium bundle – but the adoption remains limited to a few MNOs only and has not yet become a mass market trend. 

And in forecast Trend No.6, Telecoms Pricing predicted that Mobile Data bundles would become the key differentiator between MNO packages - as unlimited calls and SMS becoming ubiquitous – which leaves mobile data allowances as the key package differentiator.

For forecast Trend No.7, Telecoms Pricing commented on the similarity between Pre Pay & Post Pay bundles - both offering integrated bundles of calls, SMS & mobile data. In some markets , such as France, Post Pay usage bundles are offered on a 30 day rolling contract without a long term commitment – with Pre Pay usage declining as a result.

For forecast Trends No.8 & No.9, Telecoms Pricing found that MNOs around the world offer mobile services geared to an online channel with service selection also being made through an online portal as a cost saving measure. 

Finally, in forecast Trend No.10, Telecoms Pricing posed the question as to whether MNOs were serious about embarking on a path to use content as a service differentiator. During 2018 the ground was set for the greater use of content by the Telecoms Provider with the acquisition of TimeWarner by AT&T, with AT&T starting to bundle TV content with selected mobile plans shown in SnapShot 118. 

Throughout 2018, Telecoms Pricing has published SnapShots on a range of issues including the introduction of MNO sub-brands, and the transformation of the telecom marketplace in Italy with the launch of Iliad Italy, the low-cost mobile brand. It has also looked at the new trends in fixed & mobile convergence (with home use being bundled with mobile) and the disruptive impact of the Reliance Jio mobile service in India – with large increases in mobile data allowances for low rates.