2006 Was A Banner Year For Mobile Data, Top 10 Operators Increased Revenue, Research Says


In 2006, mobile data grew across every region and the U.S., in particular, showed potential to become the “biggest mobile data revenue generating market in the world,” according to the bi-annual study of the global mobile industry and mobile data trends compiled by Chetan Sharma Consulting. There’s a lot to digest in this in-depth examination of 40 countries and 30 operators (the PPT is avaiable for download here), but the thread that connects them all is significant growth in mobile data revenues.

Indeed, revenues from mobile data were up in all major regions and for all major operators with data making a double-digit percentage contribution to total 2006 revenues. As can be expected, messaging accounted for the lion’s share of revenues, but there are signs that usage of other data services beyond SMS are also on the rise. In Japan and Korea non-SMS apps account for 70 to 75 percent of revenue (on average). In the U.S. it’s 50 to 60 percent of revenues and in Western Europe its approximately 30 to 40 percent. (No details on the breakdown – though.)

Among the findings:

–Mobile subscription total 2.7 billion and the industry should be crossing the 3 billion mark by the end of the year.

–Japan led the way chalking up almost $20 billion in mobile data revenues. The U.S. and China were next with $15.8 billion and $9.2 billion respectively.

–The top 10 operators increased their data revenues by 13 percent during the second half of 2006 to reach $46.8 billion for the year.

–In terms of data ARPU, Japan continues to lead the pack with almost 30 percent of its revenues coming from data services (or $17 of ARPU). Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, UK and South Korea also registered significant data ARPU. In the U.S. data accounts for 10 percent of revenues, or $5 of ARPU. (The U.S. market actually showed a slight decline from 2005, but the reasons for the drop are not clear

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