OECD Communications Outlook

Frequency :
Biennial
ISSN :
1999-1460 (online)
ISSN :
1562-8795 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/19991460
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OECD’s biennial report that provides an extensive range of indicators for different types of communications networks and compares performance indicators such as revenue, investment, employment and prices for service throughout the OECD area.  This book is based on data from the OECD Telecommunications Database 2007, which provides time series for OECD countries from 1980 to 2005. Readers of the OECD Communications Outlook 2007 e-book will find a URL that provides online access to the OECD Telecommunications Database 2007. Graphics and tables in all editions include StatLinks, URLs linking to spreadsheets containing the underlying data.

Also available in: French
 
OECD Communications Outlook 2013

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
11 July 2013
Pages :
320
ISBN :
9789264194632 (PDF) ; 9789264194595 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/comms_outlook-2013-en

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Published every two years, the OECD Communications Outlook provides an extensive range of indicators for the development of different communications networks and compares performance indicators such as  revenue, investment, employment and prices for service throughout the OECD area. These indicators are essential for industry and regulators who use benchmarking to evaluate policy performance.

This edition is based on data from the OECD Telecommunications Database 2013, which provides time series of telecommunications and economic indicaors such as network dimension, revenues, investment and employment for OECD countries from 1980 to 2011. The data provided in this report map the second decade of competition for many OECD countries that fully opened their markets to competition in 1998.

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    Foreword

    This report, the twelfth in a biennial series, was prepared in the context of the OECD’s work on the analysis of communication policy in member countries.

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    Executive summary

    In 2011, the total number of OECD communication access paths was 2 066 million, or 166 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Mobile subscriptions represented 65.4% of paths, versus 64% in 2009, and traditional fixed telephony subscriptions continue to decline. Fibre broadband subscriptions grew at 16.61% year on year between 2009 and 2011. Greater use of mobile broadband access has been stimulated by the popularity of smartphones. The average subscription rate of mobile Internet access in OECD countries as a whole rose to 56.6% in June 2012, up from just 23.1% in 2009.

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    Main trends in the communications industry

    The communications industry is an ever-evolving landscape – one in which stakeholders need to embrace dynamic technological innovation and rapid commercial development. Long-predicted trends such as the convergence of previously distinct communication services are now occurring at a fast pace across all sectors of industry and having profound and widespread impacts on economies and societies. This welcome process presents OECD countries with new opportunities to promote innovation and competitiveness and to address key challenge areas such as the promotion of greater equity. The data presented here show a return to revenue and investment growth in the sector following the global financial and economic crisis.

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    Recent communication policy developments

    This chapter notes recent policy developments in fixed and mobile communications. In view of the "smartphone" effect which is shaping communication markets, it devotes special attention to spectrum policy and wireless technology evolution. It also looks at traffic prioritisation and interconnection issues, both in mobile and fixed markets, and at the emergence of new areas relevant to policy makers such as connected televisions. Finally, it summarises trends in key partner countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa).

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    Telecommunication market size

    Telecommunication revenues experienced a notable decline in 2009 but stabilised in 2010 and rebounded in 2011. This can be attributed to the strength of mobile communication markets and specifically to the rapid increase in smartphone penetration during this period. The value users associate with smartphones, as opposed to feature phones, is reflected in their willingness to pay higher amounts for monthly subscriptions that comprise voice, text and data bundles as opposed to just voice and text.

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    Network dimensions and development

    In 2011, the total number of OECD communication access paths was 2 080 million, equating to 168 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Mobile subscriptions represented 65% of communication access paths, not much changed from 64% in 2009, though traditional fixed telephony subscriptions continue to decline. Fibre broadband subscriptions grew rapidly at 16.61% year on year between 2009 and 2011. Greater use of mobile broadband access has been stimulated by the popularity of smartphones. The average subscription rate of mobile Internet access, in OECD countries as a whole, rose to 56.6% in June 2012, up from just 30.7% in 2009. To meet the rapidly increasing demand for mobile data, network operators are undertaking several initiatives including off-loading traffic onto fixed networks by Wi-Fi. Their mobile broadband services are advertised with the OECD median speed of 12Mbit/s in 2012, which is not far from the fixed broadband median speed observed two years before.

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    Internet infrastructure

    This chapter examines developments in Internet infrastructure. Attempts to measure the Internet can prove challenging, as unlike most communication technologies it relies on different actors and participants, and as a network of networks has no single point at which metrics are gathered. Nevertheless, data from surveys and databases are available for some indicators. These provide country level information on Internet infrastructure in areas such as Internet hosts, domain name registrations, address space, secure servers and network traffic, among others. The chapter also provides guidance on the interpretation of the collected data. The Internet is still growing strongly, but relative growth has decreased compared to previous periods in some categories, as might be expected given widespread adoption of this technology

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    Broadcasting and audiovisual content

    Audio and audio-visual content is now delivered over an ever-increasing range of networks and services. This chapter traces recent developments in audio and audio-visual platforms and devices. It finds that the Internet, together with analogue audio broadcasting, has become the primary distribution method for audio content. The conversion to digital television is now all but completed in the OECD. In many countries broadcasters offer their content either live or via catch-up television over the Internet. Subscription video-on-demand services are seeing rapid adoption in the countries where they have been introduced.

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    Main trends in pricing

    Prices for fixed telephony and, more markedly, for mobile voice services have decreased from 2010 to 2012, showing significant declines across all consumption patterns, with the exception of fixed business services. The chapter conducts, for the first time, a comprehensive benchmarking exercise of mobile broadband prices for laptops, tablets and smartphones, based on the recently approved OECD wireless broadband baskets.

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    Recent developments in household and individual communication expenditures and use

    Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an increasing part of everyday life. Communication and computing devices along with the Internet and broadband are now widely available in most OECD countries. Types of devices and services evolve continuously, so penetration rates can vary when benchmarked against leaders. ICT expenditures comprised the most dynamic component of household expenditure in recent years, but growth began to slow after 2005.

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    Glossary
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