In a span of five years, total calls (incoming and outgoing) in Western Europe grew by 30% from 654bn minutes in 2006 to 853bn minutes by 2010. This growth was driven by the proliferation of flat rate voice plans (particularly for calls on the same network) in the region. However, the growth rate of mobile voice traffic started to slow down in 2008. This trend can be attributed to the market saturation as well as to the increasing popularity of flat rates for data services such as unlimited SMS (short message service) usage and VoIP over 3G networks and WLAN.
Another reason for the declining mobile voice traffic growth rate is that many data services are now included as flat rates in contract subscriptions which make up the majority of the subscriber base in the region. For instance, even though SMS has been available for more than 10 years now, cuts in the termination rates of SMS (for instance in France) and the increasing availability of SMS flat rates has certainly negatively impacted voice traffic. To a much lesser extent, the use of VoIP over 3G and WLAN has also somewhat contributed to mobile voice traffic slowing down.
Outgoing voice calls make up a majority of mobile voice traffic
Minutes of Use slows down in growth