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Summary:

Carriers are struggling to address the gap between mobile data usage and revenues even as their networks approach capacity. But those willing to embrace new business models and innovative services still have a chance to thrive in the era of the superphone.

Voice revenues are shrinking for mobile carriers, networks are approaching capacity and the rising cost of handset subsidies is eating into profits. And while U.S. consumption of mobile data is up 89 percent, according to recent figures from Nielsen, the price of data has dropped 46 percent per megabyte over the past year.

There has never been a more challenging time for mobile carriers, but opportunities still abound for those willing to embrace new business models and innovative services. Carriers could differentiate their messaging services, for instance, by overhauling traditional voicemail and developing more-sophisticated offerings that integrate voice messaging with other forms of communication. For more thoughts on how carriers can better monetize mobile data and avoid becoming simple access providers, please see my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

  1. Is it just me or is the statement, “the price of data has dropped 46%” extremely misleading? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say something about the profit margins of the cellular carriers? I mean, say you owned a restaurant and lured folks in with an all-you-can-eat buffet for a set amount. If your average customer shifted towards big eaters, you wouldn’t describe that change as the price of food dropping for your customer, but rather than the margins for your particular business model are changing.

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