Mobile service provider executives can read a chart as well as any executives in any industry, so they are not unmindful of the fundamental trends in the wireless business. That is important because the wireless business is the reason most tier-one service providers haven’t faced dramatic, perhaps catastrophic revenue declines over the past two decades, when first long distance revenue and then total revenue from landline operations has plummeted.

There still is growth, but mostly in developing markets. Over the next five years, says Ovum, the number of mobile connections globally will grow by 30 percent. Where there now are about six billion customers, there will be 7.8 billion in 2016.

The problem is that overall average revenue per user is falling. Total revenues will rise by just under 10 percent to $1.047 trillion (

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