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Batteries/Lead-acid Performance 060217
Telecom: A  Positive Charge For the Lead-acid Business in North America
by Shirley Georgi

At the Battery Council International Convention in April 2005, Bob Cullen had good news for the attendees in the Lead-acid business.  The telecom market turned up in 2004; battery sales were up 3% when compared with 2003.  

Telecom growth, in general, grew 5 percent last year.  Giving impetus to the sector were wireless and Internet expansion.  The Telecommunications Industry Association reports that the U.S. Internet had 185 million users (about 66 % of the population).  By 2006, 64 million users will access Internet via a wireless device.  Globally, there is an estimated 945 million users and the trend is to go wireless.  

Telecommunications dominate Lead-acid Stationary Battery sales in the U.S. and North America.  Although growth is anticipated  in the market, the increase will be slow and steady. By 2009, the telecom market should reach $300 million in North America.  (Chart is from presentation, “North American Industrial Battery Forecast,” given at the 117th Convention of Battery Council International, 04/2005.  Special thanks to the presenter, Bob Cullen of Holingsworth and Vose.)

With continued consolidation in the wireless infrastructure and wireless markets,  more $$$ are being placed in this sector  than in any other communication group. Wireless spending was up 10% in 2004 and is growing at a 9% rate.   In fact, of the $55 billion capital  expenditures in telecom in  2004, the greatest portion, 34% ($18.7 billion), was spent on Wireless.  In comparison,  Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) spent $15.95 billion  and  Broadband had total costs of $11.5 billion.  

Both broadband and cable are moving to the Telecom market to make Wireless Internet the top player. Emphasis will focus on new construction.  At this point the replacement market is unknown.

Microsoft Excel ChartVoIP (Voice  over Internet Protocol) will cause the telecom market to grow.  There are tremendous savings available.  Verizon’s unlimited nationwide calling plan costs $69.95 per month.  VoIP  Vonage compares at $24.95 in U.S. and Canada.  Vonage  international calling is $34.95 per month.  AT&T, Time Warner and AOL are joining the VoIP battle.  

According to data from Forrester Research’s survey, 12% of businesses had   lines for Internet phone calling in 2004 but by 2008, the percentage is projected to reach 41 percent.   

VoIP is dependent on power.  Power failure results in down systems with no service.  Opportunities for battery sales as backup power  should mean growth for the Lead-acid industry.  

(Data for chart is from Bob Cullen’s presentation on U.S. Stationary Power Trends at the 117th  BCI Convention, 04/2005) +