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Deloitte: Internet Crisis Looms As TVs, Phablets Gobble GBs

The telly will be more “connected” and we’re even going to be watching more Internet on TV. And on PCs, mobiles, phablets and tablets. 

Welcome to 2013.

Internet shortages are imminent, as demand for high speed Internet on devices outweighs supply, warns Deloitte in its 2013 predictions released Friday.

“We believe that the current spectrum shortage issues that are being experienced now will get worse before they get better,” warns Deloitte’s lead Telecommunications Partner, Stuart Johnston.

A record one billion smartphones will be shipped this year, which along with web connected TVs, tablets and a slow 4G rollout will contribute to “a looming broadband shortage globally.”

“When it comes to spectrum, Australia is in similar position to the rest of the world,” says Johnston.

Recent examples of network chaos include the recent CES show in Las Vegas, where texts took a shocking 15 -45 mins to be sent due to the massive numbers of devices on the network, and also the London Olympics, where people were urged not to send texts.

2013 will see 4G LTE networks surge and users should exceed 200 million – a 17 fold increase.

In Oz, Telstra already has one million 4G users, Optus recently launched 4G and Vodafone is coming on board this year. Australia’s investment in the NBN puts it ahead of most other nations – but only in broadband – according to Deloitte analysts.

2013 is likely to become known as the ‘Year of the Device’.

Phablets (the phone/tablet combo) with 4.5 -5.5″ screens will be the “the uber cool device of 2013” in Oz, like the Galaxy Note II with other brands set to take on Samsung’s lead and launch rival devices.

Global shipments of smartphones to exceed close to 2bn by year end, some 400 million will “rarely or never connect their devices to data,” Deloitte predicts.

Tablet sales also look set to surge and there will be almost 300m tablet owners by the end of 2013 globally.

But “we predict that the PC is not dead,” said Johnston. 80% of internet traffic measured in bits will come from PCs and  70% of hours spent on computing devices will be spent on PCs. even with very strong mobile growth.

Connected TVs and 4K TVs, also known as UHD, with four times the resolution of HDTV are set to be big news this year.

But at $25K a pop, early adoptees of 4K TVs are to be wealthy individuals, particularly gamers, and the big uptake is likely to be for live sports in 2015/2016.

“Tens of millions of connected TV sets will sell globally, it will be because of price, size, thinness or bezel width, rather than for their integrated two-way connectivity.”

“The bottom line is that unless ‘must-see’ content is made exclusive to connected TVs at a competitive price, the need for connectivity in televisions is likely to remain marginal,” says Deloitte. 

Internet TV may also see a resurgence of  broadcasters and distributors rather than pure plays, with over-the-top (OTT) TV program and movie services are likely to be provided by existing broadcasters and distributors.

And in the 4G issue, telcos are being warned not to oversell 4G on the cheap.

“4G is faster than 3G, but carriers will need to strike a balance between underwhelming and overselling when marketing to drive take-up.”

“When it comes to spectrum, Australia is in similar position to the rest of the world.”