The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of the EC Joint Research Center (JRC) has released a report on the "Demand for Furture Mobile Communication Markets and Services in Europe".
"In order to prepare for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Word Radio Conference in 2007 (WRC'07), where national delegations will consider the future demands of wireless services for radio spectrum, efforts are being made to reach agreement on future traffic volumes within the European Union. This study forms part of this effort and was led by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS1), on the request of DG INFSO. It aims to explore (qualitatively) the way that citizens will use future wireless communications services over mobile networks, and to assess (quantitatively) the traffic that will be generated by 2010, 2015 and 2020."
The report explores different possible scenarios for Europe for the future. "Disposable income determines consumption – what is bought and how it is bought. The failure to understand this or to grasp the real utility to the user of the service, combined with affordability and accessibility, has led to many errors in estimating demand for services in telecommunications. Too often, a technocentric view of new services has resulted in demand being vastly underestimated or overestimated. Thus while some of the biggest product launches in communications services over the past 20 years have delivered flops, seemingly trivial services have exploded. For instance, the impact of a simple service, SMS, has been greatly underestimated and was largely unforeseen by the industry."
"The initial European impacts over 2000 to 2004 of WAP (Wireless access protocol) for mobile web access to rich data services were greatly overestimated for its first form - only now is its utility being seen. We should also note that in wireless services, a regional market such as the European Union will be increasingly shaped by a global market. In 2020, there could be of the order of 5 billion mobile users, shaping technology, services, content and pricing."
For the full report, see here.