Mobile data now 20% of worldwide operator revenues
Data revenues now account for almost 20 percent of worldwide operator service revenues according to a new report by advisory firm Chetan Sharma Consulting. The report notes that data now contributes close to 40 percent of revenues for some leading operators, although the growth of data ARPU is still not completely offsetting losses in voice ARPU. During the first half of 2008, the U.S. moved past Japan as the world's most lucrative mobile data market, with operators racking up $17.5 billion in data revenues versus $13.6 billion for Japanese operators. China followed at $7.8 billion--together, the three markets account for close to 50 percent of combined worldwide data service revenues.
Japan's NTT DoCoMo led among individual operators with $6.8 billion in data revenues during the first six months of 2008, crossing 84 percent in 3G penetration. The remainder of the top 10, in descending order: China Mobile, KDDI, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, China Unicom, Softbank, O2 UK and T-Mobile USA. According to Chetan Sharma, data revenues for the top 10 operators increased 10.3 percent from 2007 marks, and while their collective subscriber share is around 30 percent, their mobile data revenues represent close to half of global totals. During the first half of 2008, many carriers experienced an increase in non-SMS data revenues--on average, Japan and Korea rake in between 70 and 75 percent of their data revenues from non-SMS applications, with the U.S. between 50 and 60 percent and Western Europe around 20 to 40 percent.