Industry’s annual contribution to European economy to hit €600bn in 2020

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Report from GSMA forecasts this will be a result of increasing mobile operator investment in 4G networks and services 

The mobile industry’s contribution to Europe’s economy will increase from €500 billion in 2014 to €600 billion in 2020.

This is according to a new report from industry body the GSMA entitled: ‘The Mobile Economy: Europe 2015’, which says this jump will occur off the back of increasing mobile operator investments in 4G networks and services.

It adds the increase will also come as markets across the region benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the new adoption of newly-launched mobile technologies, such as M2M.

The €500 billion generated last year was equivalent to 3.2 per cent of the region’s GDP, with the industry also supporting 3.8 million jobs and contributed around €84 billion to public funding in the form of various types of taxation.

4G penetration to treble

Ongoing mobile operator investments in 4G network quality and coverage across Europe will see 4G account for 60 per cent of the continent’s mobile connections by 2020, up from 20 per cent today.

The report states there are set to be 430 million unique mobile subscribers in Europe by the end of this year, representing 79 per cent of the region’s population, and making Europe the most highly penetrated mobile region in the world, nearly 10 per cent higher than North America.

As a result, the GSMA claims there is limited room for subscriber growth and is forecasting that the number of unique mobile subscribers in Europe will reach 450 million by 2020, representing 81 per cent of the region’s expected population by this point.

According to the report, migration to 4G networks is being driven by expanding 4G coverage and rising smartphone adoption. 4G network coverage passes 80 per cent of the European population earlier this year and is expected to exceed 95 per cent by the end of the decade.

Improved coverage, a greater number of available devices at a broader range of price points and increasing use of music and video streaming services will be some of the factors driving this increased adoption of 4G devices.

Regulatory overhaul needed

GSMA acting director general and chief technology officer Alex Sinclair said: “Europe’s mobile operators have invested heavily in 4G over the past few years despite challenging macroeconomic and regulatory conditions, and we expect investments in 4G deployments, capacity and spectrum to be sustained for the remainder of the decade.

“Mobile subscribers in Europe are now benefiting from download speeds that far exceed the global average and are taking advantage of a range of innovative new services made possible by next-generation networks and devices.

“Transforming Europe into a world-leading digital economy will require an extensive regulatory overhaul that encourages investment in future-proof infrastructure and addresses the current fragmented approach in areas such as spectrum,

“The creation of a Digital Single Market provides a unique opportunity to build a new regulatory framework that supports a new era of digital players, services and business models, underpinned by advanced mobile broadband connectivity.”

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