Connected devices were the top source of revenue growth for mobile operators last year, but without new pricing plans, that growth could stall, according to data released today by Chetan Sharma. And so far AT&T is on a tear when it comes to M2M growth.
Carriers’ data revenue hit $12.5 billion in the first quarter of 2010. However, they face two challenges: a saturated market and users who are boosting their consumption of data faster than carriers are boosting their data revenue. The Internet of things will help.
Mobile data consumption continues to surge, as Chetan Sharma notes in his latest update of the U.S. mobile industry, but data revenues aren’t keeping pace. That explains why AT&T and Verizon — which dominate mobile the mobile data market — are moving toward metered billing.
About a year after China issued 3G licenses to its three national carriers iSuppli predicts wireless data revenue in the country will rise to $19.3 billion in 2009, up from $16.3 billion in 2008. It’s a big opportunity for device makers, app companies and the carriers.
New devices, app stores and rising mobile broadband usage continue are changing the way consumers and businesses interact with the cellular infrastructure and even the Internet. This is causing power to shift from the carriers to other players — something carriers are unable to admit.
The floundering economy hasn’t kept consumers from spending on mobile data, according to the latest quarterly report on the wireless industry from Chetan Sharma, one of our GigaOM Pro analysts. U.S. data service revenues grew 27 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, Sharma reported, with Verizon Wireless (s vz) and AT&T (s t) accounting for 80 percent of the rise, underscoring what I wrote last week about how the rich carriers are getting richer. Given the investment needed to build out new networks, and the incredible growth in data, both the smaller carriers and U.S. regulators should mind the growing gap between those that are raking in the wireless data dough and those that are not. Read More about With Wireless Data, Smaller Carriers Must Mind the Gap
In what looked like a scene from a candy-colored Red Dawn, 100 Skydivers descended on San Francisco today as part of a T-Mobile promotion (they formed “T”s in mid-air). Normally we wouldn’t report on such a thing, but some of them were landing right outside our office, which presented a perfect opportunity to break out the li’l Flip and shoot a very uncommon occurrence (which cost T-Mobile a reported $20,000 just to get permission from the city). For more photos, visit the T-Mobile Forums.
I still don’t much about the Linux-based Plaszma operating system on the Zii EGG, but information abut the native browser landed today. A version of the popular Opera mobile browser will be fully integrated into the ZMS-05 processor powering the device. As I read it, the Opera Devices SDK version 9.7 is what the EGG will work with, much like the Opera browser on the Nintendo DS handheld gaming device.
Although the EGG supports Google Android (s goog), my suspicion is that Opera won’t be available when running Android — only in the Plaszma environment. This news gives me hope that the browsing capabilities will be fairly robust on this unique handheld.
Is that enough to open my wallet for $399 and a development version of the device? Not just yet. Although Android is maturing, I don’t know anything about the Plaszma operating system, nor do I know what application support it will have out of the gate. We already know that the device doesn’t offer traditional voice support, so apps is where it’s at in my book.
In the U.S., which has a population of 304 million, there are about 270 million cell phone subscriptions. With a market this saturated, the conventional wisdom is that there’s not much room for growth, especially as the amount paid for voice declines. And this is why mobile data has loomed so large for carriers in the last few years. According to the CTIA, a cellular industry association, wireless data service revenues for the year 2008 rose to more than $32 billion — a 39 percent increase over 2007, when they totaled $23.2 billion. Wireless data revenues for 2008 amounted to nearly 22 percent of all wireless service revenues.
So now that the market for phones is saturated, carriers are positioning to gain in the next wireless revolution, based on data connections. But selling data plans to people is going to become more expensive in the next 5-10 years as more consumers seek to use them. Read More about What Will Carriers Do When the Data Gravy Train Derails?
The wireless industry is poised at a precipice between the potential for incredible growth and a recession that could deepen and set wireless data adoption back, according to analysis by Chetan Sharma of Chetan Sharma Consulting. He writes in his 2008 year-end and fourth-quarter analysis that data revenue in the U.S. hit $34 billion for the year, while the global wireless data industry crossed 4 billion in subscriptions and $1 trillion in total revenues. Read More about After Solid 2008, U.S. Wireless Data Revenues May Slow