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Mobile broadband subscribers near quarter of a billion mark

23 июля 2009

According to Informa Telecoms & Media's latest World Cellular Data Metrics report, which assesses the extent of non-voice mobile revenues and usage, there were more than 225mn mobile broadband subscribers (all technologies) at the end of March 2009, representing 93% year-on-year growth.

Whilst the popularity of mobile broadband remains at its highest in Asia Pacific (over 90mn subscribers), growth is most notable in Latin America (385% year-on-year growth to over 10mn subscribers), says the report. Typically in many emerging markets, fixed broadband access remains limited and mobile operators are seeing the opportunity to use recently deployed third-generation networks as a way of diversifying their revenue streams by connecting millions for whom an internet connection has until recently been out of reach.

The evolution of the device market has also contributed to a surge in mobile data traffic, and Informa estimates that the increased usage in non-voice services has resulted in mobile operators recording total data revenues of US$46.5bn during 1Q09, which is an 8.5% y-o-y increase on the corresponding period in 2008. The value of the non-voice market for the whole of 2008 was over US$180bn, accounting for over 20% of total service revenues.

The spread of the iPhone continues to boost data usage for those operators that distribute the model with O2 reporting that 40% of its data traffic in
comes from the smartphone market. Once the preserve of the corporate segment, the consumer market is now driving the evolution of the mobile data market. And yet, the value of the global data market has decreased by 1.8% in the last quarter.

Informa Telecoms & Media principal analyst for growth markets, Nick Jotischky explains that the main cause of this fall in the value of the data market is "global currency exchange volatility."

But, Jotischky adds: "
Mobile operators cannot afford to overlook the effects of the economic downturn on consumer spending and especially the discretionary spend of data services. Moreover, intense competition and the introduction of bundled offers in order to limit churn has resulted in decreasing SMS revenues for many operators despite an actual rise in traffic. Whilst all data services, be they messaging, entertainment, internet or mobile banking services are becoming more central to mobile operator strategies, they are often more successful as retention tools and differentiators than actual revenue generators."


Источник: Mobile Europe

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