IDC Analyst: North American communication services market approaching saturation

With growth down "significantly across the board" in areas including broadband services, wired, wireless, and cable TV, IDC program director Matt Davis is predicting market saturation. Interviewed by EE Times, Davis said the good news is that the slowdown in services is expected to put pressure on consumer hardware.

According to an announcement made last week, 5.5 million new users signed onto broadband services in 2008, down from 10 million a couple of years ago. New cable subscribers were at 1 million last year, down from a peak of 2.5 million. Wireless voice services, once the hottest growth area, has slowed to 1.4 percent growth per year, but wireless and the slowed economy also is hammering landline subscriptions. Some carriers shed a million landlines per quarter last year.

IDC's research found that there's interest in network services such as remote controls for lights and heating/air conditioning, and integrated voice mail.  A need for more gizmos to implement remote access translates to a market of $500 million in the next few years - but consumer electronics companies and network operators need to cooperate in setting standards for services to play well with hardware inside the home firewall.

Needless to say, there are different and fragmented standards groups trying to work out the rules of the virtual road into the home, but Davis doesn't expect anyone to really cooperate until market saturation forces everyone to the table to play nice.

For more:
- EE Times talks to IDC about market saturation. Article.

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