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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article

August 04, 2010

Mobile Data Usage Explodes, Revenue Does Not

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Mobile data usage continues to grow exponentially as 3G technology spreads globally, but revenues are not increasing at the same rate, ABI Research (News - Alert) says, an observation that is typical for industry observers who watch bandwidth trends. 

From 2009 to 2015 data usage in Western Europe and North America is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 42 percent and 55 percent, respectively. In 2010, the average North American user is expected to consume 159 megabytes of data, up from 100 megabytes in 2009, for example. 

"Mobile voice has already been surpassed by mobile data traffic on some networks, and this trend will only accelerate," said ABI Research wireless analyst Bhavya Khanna. "This boom in usage is driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones in these markets."

But the explosion in data traffic does not mean a corresponding rise in data revenues for operators, ABI Research noted. 

Mobile data revenues are expected to grow at a CAGR of about 18 percent in North America, in sharp contrast to the increase in usage. This presents a challenge for operators as they look to manage the demands on their networks without a corresponding increase in income, ABI Research noted.

The latest ABI Research confirms that minutes of use are on the decline in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe, but growing in developing markets where voice communications are new services. 

African minutes of use per user grew nine percent between 2009 and 2010, for example. There is still much room for growth on the continent, as average usage per subscriber continues to be half of that of the Asia-Pacific region.

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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