Paolo Pescatore, director of operator strategy, applications and content, CCS Insight:
‘There's a huge amount of momentum building around multiplay bundles of services — phone, mobile, Internet and TV. Providers are scrambling to fill the gaps in what they offer through acquisitions and mergers. One of our current set of predictions is that BT will buy EE to strengthen its multiplay offering, and this is now a distinct possibility. As Mobile reported in late November, the operator is in preliminary talks with EE about a potential takeover.
‘We also predicted that Vodafone will buy Sky this year. Such a deal would give Vodafone a firm place in the pay-TV world. Acquiring Sky would build on Vodafone's existing relationship with the broadcaster in the UK and complement its operations in Germany and Italy.
‘But it's not just operators moving into the multiplay word. We expect several Web companies like Google to offer more video services, including a few new names from the East. The Eastern companies will be hoping to benefit from pent-up demand for native-language content among Asian communities in the West.
‘Total revenue of the "big four" US carriers surpasses that of the whole of Europe in the first half of 2015. The milestone starkly illustrates the different competitive and regulatory environments in the two regions.
‘The prepaid market returns to growth in Western Europe in 2015. The main reasons are the availability of low-cost smartphones and cheap prepaid LTE tariffs.
‘More than one in four mobile phone sales in the UK will be made online in 2015. The likes of Carphone Dixons have already felt the effects of a shift in how people buy phones, and bricks-and-mortar retailers continue to shrink following the collapse of Phones 4u.
‘The number of mobile virtual network operators in Western Europe peaks in 2016. After a year of growth, operators scale back MVNO activity as competition and diminished value makes it less appealing for spectrum holders.’