Blog Post

U.S. Leading the Global Mobile Data Boom

3ggrowth.gifChina and India may be well on their way to dominating the voice world with billions of users, but when it comes to mobile data, U.S. companies are leading the charge, showing strong growth both in terms of overall traffic and revenue, according to data collected by our friend Chetan Sharma, who is a member of the GigaOM Pro Analyst Network. A lot of the growth in the U.S. is coming as a result of the availability of 3G services, flat-rate data plans and of course, mobile devices such as the iPhone. Here are some interesting findings from Sharma’s report for the first half of 2009:  

  • Mobile data now accounts for 25 percent of total global service revenue.
  • Verizon (s vz) is the second-largest carrier in terms of mobile data, edging past China Mobile and closing in on NTT DoCoMo, which had revenues of $8 billion.
  • U.S. data revenues were $20.6 billion vs. $16 billion for Japan and $8.6 billion for China during the first six months of this year.
  • Top 10 global wireless carriers now account for 63 percent of global mobile data revenue.
  • Biggest mobile growth was registered by Verizon, AT&T (s t) and Softbank. Two out of those three companies sell iPhones.
  • Data revenue for the overall industry was up 10 percent from the second half of 2008, showing that the current craze for smartphones is helping to boost mobile Internet usage.


news20090922-1-1.gif This wireless data boom, while creating many bottlenecks, also spells opportunity for companies big and small. From backhaul service providers to little app developers, the entire mobile ecosystem has been re-energized.

In related news, market research firm Telegeography notes that China Mobile not only has the largest number of mobile subscribers — 503 million — it also leads the world in terms of wireless revenue. And it’s pushed Vodafone (s vod) to the No. 2 two spot.

20 Responses to “U.S. Leading the Global Mobile Data Boom”

    • Re the SMS share of data revenues: I’m sure SMS is included in the numbers above. For the US operators I’d expect SMS revenue to be nearly half of all data revenue.

      Secondly, I want to point out that e.g. China Mobile does not have 500M subscribers – it has that many subscriptions. With some operators the difference between these two is very significant. It would be less confusing if we talked about about connections and subscribers.

  1. this also shows that US customers are also among the most duped with all kinds of charges. when i send a sms, i get charged 20c AND the receiver gets charged 20c. where else do you see such nonsense?

  2. Interesting, even without an iconic device, Verizon shows well against the competition. It’ll be interesting to see numbers next year when they have the Pre and Android devices on their network. And of course the extreme outside chance of an iPhone in some form.