According to the latest forecasts from Informa Telecom's & Media, total mobile service revenues will exceed US$1 trillion in 2013, despite a projected fall in voice revenues. Growth in service revenues will be driven by data revenues rising to over US$330 billion that year, up from an estimated US$208 billion in 2008. The forecast comes from the latest Global Mobile Forecasts report from Informa Telecoms & Media, completed this month.
"The backdrop to this transition in the industry is the fact that the internet has started to dominate the landscape for new services and applications, and telecoms operators are under increasing pressure to remain valuable and relevant in the eyes of their end-users," says Mark Newman, Chief Research Officer at Informa Telecoms & Media.
"As this happens, the growth in data revenues is being spurred by the rise in take-up of more advanced technologies and mobile broadband services, as well as new handset interfaces and mobile content strategies based on application stores rather than walled gardens", Newman adds.
Illustrating the significance of data services to mobile operators, Informa predicts that data revenues and data ARPU in Japan will actually surpass voice revenues and ARPU in 2014. At a time when Japan's mobile operators are looking for more sustainable revenue streams by offering personalised services that make use of their high network capacity for data, the advent of LTE in Japan (and other markets) should help to support this boom in data revenues. Informa projects that data revenues in Japan will reach US$39.7 billion in 2014, and that monthly data ARPU will be US$24.56, the highest in the world.
Second-generation mobile technologies still account for 90% of the world's subscriptions, but by the end of 2012, this figure will fall to 70%, and by the end of 2014, over half the world's 6.7 billion mobile subscriptions will be to 3G and 3.5G+ technologies. Furthermore, Informa projects that by the end of 2014, 3.5G+ technologies will represent over a third of the total number of subscriptions.
These figures indicate that the quality and coverage of a mobile operator's network remains an important differentiator, says Informa. The explosion of mobile broadband has renewed the significance of the network itself as operators market their mobile broadband services around the speed and geographical range of their network.
With global subscription penetration set to reach 92% in 2014, according to Informa's forecasts, and meaningful new growth only still available in rural parts of Africa and Asia Pacific, data service strategies are central to mobile operator strategies, both as a way to generate new revenues and to minimise the impact of churn at a time of intense competition between mobile network operators, it says.