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UMTS Forum Report 37, April 2005

By the year 2020, the global communications marketplace - and mobile communications within that - may well be unrecognisable when compared with today. By reference, we need only to look back 15 years to observe that most of the dynamics that dominate communications today did not yet exist and were not commonly foreseen.

The first step of this report is to explore the broadest context in which the communications industry will operate in the next decade. A possible shape of the world of 2010-2020 is presented in terms of demographic, economic and social trends. Major trends of the development of the Information Society for the next decade are also assessed.

Secondly, the major trends in terms of technological developments and their impact on future devices and networks are explained.

Finally, the report offers forecasts for expected mobile traffic in the period 2010-2020. Predicting the level and nature of wireless service demand - in the face of such fundamental uncertainty - calls for the use of scenarios. Three descriptions of what could exist in the decade 2010-2020 have been defined. To do so, some important global variables have been identified in the realms of geopolitics, socioeconomics, technology and industry dynamics; these and through the potential impact of these variables on service availability and demand.