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2013 Predictions: CCS Insight

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Slough, U.K. -- Mobile and telecoms analyst group, CCS Insight, has revealed its top predictions for the mobile and telecoms industry in 2013:

As smartphones start to all look the same, it's what you do with them that counts. Although the look and feel of a mobile phone will still be a factor when people are buying a new device, its importance will be dramatically reduced over the next three years. The experience and the apps on a phone will increasingly be the things consumers care about most.

In 2013, we think some of the most innovative mobile phone experiences will come from newly launched platforms like BlackBerry OS 10 and newcomers like Firefox OS and Tizen. They'll offer fresh ways of doing things with your phone that'll move the whole industry forward. Their innovations will underline why experiences, not hardware, are the future of the smartphone business.

Looking further ahead, we see a world where customers can buy the same phone with different operating systems, whether it's Android, Windows Phone or something else. By 2015 we expect you'll be able to select a design you like and leave the shop with the operating system of your choice.

Internet giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google all see their future success tied to the mobile market. We expect them and others to ruffle a few feathers in 2013. Amazon's Kindle Fire has already opened up the tablet market, and we expect Amazon to make a move into smartphones in 2013. We predict it'll work with HTC on a range of phone products.

The iPhone's market share will peak in 2014. As Apple's devices become more affordable and commonplace, they'll appeal less to trend-setters. We expect Apple's overall share of the smartphone market to stabilise, despite ever-growing sales of the iPhone.

We predict that by the end of 2014 Google will start to share some of its advertising revenue with companies that make smartphones running Google's Android operating system. This will make Android phones cheaper, helping Google to realise its stated goal of putting "an Android phone in every pocket."

By the end of 2013, the average household in Western Europe and North America is expected to have seven connected devices. Devices are becoming more affordable, with tablets selling for £100 or less. When combined with the continued development of mobile networks, including free public Wi-Fi and the launch of 4G services, demand is set to continue.

The use of mobile and web technologies in business and government will rise sharply over the next three years, as senior positions are filled by digital natives -- people who have grown up with smartphones and access to the Internet. A generational flush will see an influx of these digital natives taking responsible roles, and this will have a profound effect on business processes and policies.

The quality of life in Europe and North America over the next three years will become more and more dependent on levels of Internet literacy. It's no longer about who's online and who isn't, but who can take full advantage of online services and social networks.

More and more people watch TV programs and films on their smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, and we predict sales of set-top boxes in many regions will fall into terminal decline by 2015. This trend is being driven by the wide availability of services like BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Lovefilm and Netflix.

Established names won't want to miss out on this revolution in the living room. On this basis, CCS Insight expects Microsoft to buy TiVo by mid-2014 and integrate its technology in the next-generation Xbox.

Companies like Facebook and Google hold huge amounts of information about users and their activities. We believe consumer bodies and government watchdogs will take a greater interest in how much service providers know. In response, service providers will have to be much more open about what data they hold and what they do with it.

But this won't stop customers clamouring for mobile access to social networks and Internet services. Multi-device tariffs are likely to become the prevalent way to pay for mobile access in mature markets by 2016. Operators will have to make significant extra investments in billing systems to cope with this new way of charging people according to how many devices they want to connect.

Underlining the UK's interest in advanced mobile services, we predict the country will become the first in Western Europe to spend more on mobile data than on mobile voice services. The UK is one of the front-runners when it comes to mobile data, and this pattern is sure to be repeated across Europe over the next two years.

CCS Insight

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