Telco analyst Ovum has published the findings of a new report in which it predicts total global revenues for fixed-line broadband will overtake those for landline phone calls for the first time next year.
This year the totals are expected to be $176 billion for landline and $167 for broadband, but the two markets are moving in opposite directions and Ovum reckons broadband revenues will top $180 billion next year, while landline revenues will fall below $159 billion.
"Our research reveals the extent to which the fixed voice telecoms market is shrinking and just how important broadband has become to the telecoms industry," said Ovum analyst Charlie Davies. "Next year, telcos will generate more consumer revenues from fixed broadband than from telephone lines for the first time.
"This will be driven by consumers continuing to shun their landline in favour of the mobile phone and the greater need for fixed broadband in the home to meet the demands of increasing video traffic, more applications and content in the cloud and more connected devices. The rise of Internet-based voice services such as Skype will also play a significant role.
"However, broadband revenue growth alone will not be sufficient to offset the decline in fixed voice revenues due to the investment needed for next-generation access networks and software. This underlines the need for telcos to find a role and further revenues from new service lines."
Davies reckons the smart money will be in entertainment, with the enablement of on-demand content and online gaming being significant growth opportunities. "The way that telcos approach this vertical will evolve rapidly as they learn to exploit partnerships with popular brands more effectively," he said.