Blog Post

Global mobile revenues will be $1.1 trillion in 2012. Here’s why.

You know what’s cooler than a billion? A trillion! That’s exactly where the mobile industry is going, according to a new GSM/Wireless Intelligence study, The Global Cellular Industry Balance Sheet.

The study estimates global mobile service provider revenues will be $1.1 trillion in 2012, thanks to a massive boom in four major economies — Brazil, Russia, India, and China — collectively known as the BRIC economies. The BRIC operators had revenues of $170 billion in 2010 and will exceed $200 billion in revenues in 2012. Developing markets will be the primary engine of growth, contributing over 40 percent of global revenues by this point. In comparison, developed economies are stagnating:

  • Total revenue growth in developed economies has stalled at around 2 percent since 2009.
  • 40 percent of operators in the developed economies saw revenue declines last year.
  • The demand for smartphones has led to higher handset subsidies and that’s causing some issues for carriers, which saw profit margins in the developed world decline by 1.4 percent in 2009 and 0.3 percent  in 2010 to stand at 35 percent of total revenues
  • The worst hit operators are located in Western Europe (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain), Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary) and the more mature markets in the Middle East (Bahrain, UAE), as well as a number of second-tier operators in the U.S.

Some other notable facts:

  • Voice revenues still account for 75 percent of recurring revenues on average in developing countries and 70 percent in developed countries.
  • Data-only revenues (which exclude revenues from messaging services) represented 16 percent of total revenues on average in the developed region in 2010, compared to 11 percent in the developing region.
  • In 2012, over one-third of total revenues globally will come from non-voice services.
  • Data-only services will represent close to 20 percent of total revenues.

2 Responses to “Global mobile revenues will be $1.1 trillion in 2012. Here’s why.”

  1. What is missing here probably is the fact that the future holds a new mechanism for “Pay Per Use”. Which will cut costs for providers and raise charges for the end users.
    Future networks will leverage Wifi much more than it does today. Automatic/autonomic change of networks will be the name of the game. Moreover, our devices will monitor our consumption much closer. In that sense we may be paying differently for specific services / applications. We already see that happening today here and there. In the future pay-per-use is the only model that would make sense for the providers. This is how service competition is going to be conducted naturally too. With carriers getting a big chunk of the prize.
    Lower costs and higher charges. That’s one heck of a plan for the carriers.

  2. A trillion sounds like a lot but when those BRIC companies starting taking off even more you’ll be looking for new words above a trillion. I think we really are at the very tip of the iceberg in terms of mobile at the moment