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« on: March 22, 2005, 06:11: PM »

2004/2005 USA Broadband, Internet and Broadcasting report

Published by Paul Budde Communications

The US telecommunications market has finally emerging from its slump although at this stage, BuddeCom believes it will not be until 2005/6 before the market returns to usual levels and when it does, it will be valued in a similar manner to any other mature national market not at the ridiculous levels witnessed in the telecommunications and dot.com boom.

2004 was a year where many operators turned the corner and started to focus on increasing their customer base, while keeping one eye firmly on their profitability. The previous few years has seen most operators consolidate their position in the market and focus on steadying their profit and loss statements but now we are seeing more operators looking to more actively poach customers and grow their own customer base either through competition or acquisition.

In 2004 some of the predicted market consolidation in the wireless communications market finally occurred. This consolidation will continue as long as a number of strong operators remain in the market however, the presence of congested networks and radio spectrum, particularly in the larger cities, is helping provide enough customers to support the current number of operators. Without the need to build out expensive new networks that the European operators are facing, the US operators can spend their money more sensibly on acquiring customers and attempting to increase Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) using the existing network and services. At this stage the operators have upgraded their networks to General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or CDMA2000 1xRTT, and are now rolling out EV-DO and EDGE or WCDMA services across the country.

Competition is hotting up in the local voice market as a number of cable companies and other CLECs are beginning to emerge as major competitors to the big telecom operators although Comcast Corporations focus on profitable voice services has seen it slow down the rollout of its cable telephony services. VoIP services are driving demand for data services in corporate America as these services finally become accepted by businesses. IP telephony services in the USA are increasingly becoming more common and now have the support of a number of major mainstream US operators including AT&T.

Internet and online markets are still witnessing strong growth as demand for services continues. The Internet user population passed the 207 million mark at the end of May 2004 and now mirrors the general population in terms of user demographics.

The promised fast and furious growth or broadband services never materialised what we have witnessed instead is the organic growth of a market but it is now beginning to reach the penetration rates that were initially forecast. DSL and cable modem Internet services continue to dominate the broadband access market, as fixed wireless and satellite services are relegated to niche markets where fixed-line solutions are not available. The much hyped and long awaited debut of Internet over powerlines is yet to materialise.

Key highlights:

1. The predicted consolidation of the wireless market began as AT&T Wireless was acquired by Cingular after a brief bidding war with Europes Vodafone. The consolidation is likely to continue;

2. SMS and other mobile messaging services began to make an impact on mobile operators bottom lines, with usage of these services amongst the youth segment beginning to mirror usage levels seen in Europe;

3. IP telephony services received a vital regulatory boost along with the thumbs up from the major operators as a number of incumbents launched mainstream IP telephony services. By 2006 IP telephony will be one of the major factors driving the growth in broadband services;

4. Infrastructure spend finally seemed to pick up again as the financial markets began to look more fondly on telecoms players;

5. Competition remained fierce in the long distance and international calling markets;

6. Broadband services continue to make inroads in the Internet access market and competition continues to drive down prices although more slowly than in previous years;

7. Cable telephony adoption rates slowed as Comcast in particular focussed on profitability as opposed to customer acquisition;
8. Many of the cable operators saw their subscriber numbers stagnate as the satellite providers witnessed much of the growth in subscriber numbers in 2004;

9. Wi-Fi services continued to disappoint despite the roll-out of a number of new networks and the increasing penetration of Wi-Fi enabled devices prices dropped and business plans failed as the elusive road warrior continued to prefer coffee to e-mail while at Starbucks et al;

10. The number of fixed lines in service continued to decline as wireless services and broadband on existing cable and copper decreased the need for second and sometimes first lines;

11. The Triennial Review of 2003 was overturned in the Supreme Court, sending the FCC into a tailspin;

12. The effects of the acquisition of DirecTV by News Corporation began to impact the market although at this stage little has changed.



Paul Budde Communication provides advice to some of the worlds leading IT&T companies, such as AT&T, Telstra, Optus, Telecom New Zealand, Global One, Sharp, Fujitsu, IBM, Unisys, Digital, Hutchison, First Netcom, Spectrum Global, SITA, Hewlett Packard, Honeywell Bull, ICL, Cray Communication, Sybase, Sony and GPT.

Market research reports and strategic business reports have been developed for motorists' association, NRMA; human resources company, Computer Power; law firm, Allen, Allen & Hemsley; transport company, Mayne Nickless; publishing company, MacGraw Hill; Film Australia; Energy Australia and various government organisations.

These reports focus on new business opportunities in the emerging electronic markets and on establishing and developing new electronic products and services.

Asia Intelligence, Inc

Tel: 1-720-427-0400 Fax: 1-720-489-3866
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