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Barcelona finds hard times for ICT

Survival of the fittest is the name of the game in the ICT market.

At the EVCA technology investment conference, held in Barcelona last month, the message was one of doom and gloom from ICT keynote speaker Rudi Lamprecht, group president of Siemens information and communication mobile group. “If we are looking at the entire ICT landscape, everyone in this business is under pressure. Most of the telecoms operators are in deep trouble and ownerships are changing by the day.”

There is no doubt that the industry is facing huge difficulties. “This is a

$100 billion industry without customers.” The end-user does not exist, he says

and this is a problem that needs solving. Around 95 per cent of mobile users only use their phone to make calls, while there are so many more functions that can be used and need to be developed. There is a huge potential that needs to be realised, says Lamprecht.

But Paul Harvey of Goldman Sachs International believes investors are demoralised. “The sector as a whole has been talking about a second half recovery for three years running and people are fed up.”

Even Lamprecht’s prediction for the future is bleak. “The market will not grow next year we will probably see a further decline of at least ten per cent. But we are confident that 2004 will surpass the zero growth barrier and will witness growth of five per cent or more.”

From Siemens’ point of view he is optimistic. “Our glasses are certainly half full it’s a question of time. There are hard times ahead, but the industry will thin out and the leading players will remain.”