State of U.S. Wireless Data: Q2 2009

Our friend Chetan Sharma, who is a member of the GigaOM Pro Analyst Network, has put together a report on the state of the wireless industry for the second quarter of 2009. Here are some of the highlights that show that the demand for wireless data continues to grow despite the current economic downturn. His presentation is below the fold.

  • U.S. wireless data service revenues grew 7 percent during the quarter to $10.6 billion. That’s a 30 percent gain over data service revenues in the second quarter of 2008.
  • Much of the gains were shared by the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. carriers – Verizon and AT&T. Verizon and AT&T saw their revenues increase 8 percent during the quarter, followed by T-Mobile, which saw its data revenues go up 6 percent.
  • The U.S. is now is the largest mobile data market, ahead of Japan and China. Verizon’s data revenues are close to $4 billion, just shy of NTT DoCoMo’s. According to Sharma, the top four U.S. carriers figure among the top 10 global operators by way of mobile data service revenues.
  • 3G penetration in the U.S. was around 40 percent during the second quarter.

Sharma thinks that despite doubts about the economy, the mobile industry is likely to stay on this path of measured growth for the remainder of the year. “We estimate that by end of 2009, the U.S. mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 400 petabytes, up 193% from 2008,” he says. “To truly tackle the problem head-on, operators will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to manage their traffic more effectively.”

Also, check out Stacey’s Q2 2009 wireless scorecard, in which she discusses the growing popularity of prepaid wireless services and their impact on carrier revenues.And GigaOM Pro has published its Mobile second-quarter review (subscription required.)