Friday, July 15, 2005

US mobile data market grows 80% as SMS finally makes impact

Here are some features of the U.S. mobile market that makes the Europeans only dream about:

* The value of the US mobile data market increased by approx. 80% in the year to March 2005
* Data typically forms 6-10% of US mobile operators’ total revenues
* Total messaging traffic up 59% over last 12 months

The value of the US mobile data market increased by around 80% during the year to March 2005, according to the June 2005 edition of Informa Telecoms & Media’s World Cellular Data Metrics, as interoperability agreements finally helped SMS make a significant impact on the market, which has traditionally lagged behind Europe and Asia. Total revenues from non-voice services for the four largest US mobile operators totaled more than USD 1.2 billion in Q1 2005, compared to USD 689 million in the same period of 2004.

Interoperability is fundamental to the success of messaging and has been the key limiting factor to SMS usage in the States in the past,” commented Kester Mann, Senior Research Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “The near 60% increase in traffic last year would not have been possible if subscribers could have sent SMS only within their own networks.

GSM operator T-Mobile was particularly noteworthy; its subscribers sent a total of 3.6 billion messages during Q1 2005. The operator’s recent launch of bundled SMS packages, including one offering unlimited messages for USD 15 per month, is sure to drive traffic still higher. As well as interoperability, continued subscriber education and growth in popularity of interactive TV programs have boosted SMS traffic levels in the USA.
Thanks largely to SMS, data now typically contributes 6-10% of mobile operators’ total revenues in the States,
observed Mann.
While this still remains some way below the industry average, it marks a significant increase from the 4% recorded this time last year and less than 2% at the beginning of 2003.

Non-voice services form an average of 15-16% of mobile operators’ revenues in Western Europe, according to the report, while in the leading data markets in Asia they typically generate 20-30%. Complete report .


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