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Telecoms: Overview

BUSINESS BRIEFINGS
BT Group 
Vodafone 
Nokia 
Ericsson 
Siemens 
Alcatel 

(CNN) -- The telecommunication sector has found itself under siege as weakening consumer demand and the global economic downturn have resulted in falling revenues, mounting debt and plunging stock prices.

The sector consists of traditional and mobile telephone operators and network and handset equipment makers.

The major phone operators -- such as France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and BT Group -- are facing declining growth in their fixed-line services as their domestic markets are opened up to competition.

They have also spent billions of dollars on acquiring smaller companies and high-speed mobile phone licences.

Mobile phone makers -- such as Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens -- have been caught in the same cash and debt crunch of the major operators, with market saturation cutting into revenue as customers hold off buying new handsets until new generation products are available.

Mobile phone makers are pinning their hopes on multimedia messaging services (MMS), which adds sound and pictures to basic text messaging.

Manufacturers are looking for new ways to attract customers by developing high-speed third-generation (3G) Internet handset services and improved access for broadband, which allows high-quality video streaming.

Telecom equipment makers also have been hurt by falling revenues and rising debt.

With telecom operators having spent so heavily on acquisitions and new technology in recent years, they have little money left to spend on new infrastructure.

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