James Middleton

July 25, 2008

2 Min Read
Mobile data to hit $200bn this year, says Informa

Revenues from mobile data services are set to exceed US$200 billion in 2008 for the first time, according to Informa Telecoms & Media’s latest World Cellular Data Metrics edition. Total mobile data revenues were approximately US$157 billion in 2007. 

Research from the first quarter of 2008 reveals that mobile data service revenues exceeded US$49 billion, accounting for a 42.7 per cent year on year increase. This suggests that mobile operators now generate approximately one fifth of their revenue from data services, which is crucial given a general slowdown in voice revenues. Informa Telecoms & Media estimates that non-SMS data contributed US$17.48 billion of revenue in Q108, accounting for 35.6 per cent of total data revenues. 

“Growth drivers for the increase in data revenues include the acceleration in deployment of advanced technologies, an increasingly competitive market, and of course, growing consumer demand for mobile data services driven by popular data-optimised devices such as Apple’s iPhone”, said principal analyst, Nick Jotischky. 

The Asia Pacific region comprises 40 per cent of the world’s data revenues (over US$20 billion in Q108), representing an above average year on year growth rate of 48 per cent. The biggest regional riser, however, is the Middle East, which despite contributing just two per cent of the world’s data revenues in the first quarter of 2008, has seen a 91.7 per cent year on year increase in this figure to US$927 million.

Aiding this acceleration is the 321 per cent year on year rise in the number of HSPA subscribers in the region, which reached 2.9 million by the end of March 2008. Further next-generation deployment should also ensure rapid growth in Africa and the Americas, which accounted for just two per cent and five per cent of global data revenues at the end of Q1 2008.

With the increased deployment of fixed wireless telephony, the popularity of EV-DO datacards continues to spread across Africa, now available in 18 markets. Similarly, in Latin America, operators are hopeful for increases in data revenues from WCDMA and HSDPA launches.

 According to Informa Telecoms & Media’s World Cellular Data Metrics, the operator to generate the highest non-voice revenues in the quarter is Japan’s NTT DoCoMo (US$3.6bn), having overtaken China Mobile (US$3.5 bn), which had been the largest generator of data revenues for the previous three quarters.  In terms of data as a percentage of overall revenue, Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications is the world’s market leader and the only carrier to depend on non-voice revenues for more than 50 per cent of its income, such is the high level of SMS usage in the country. 


About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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