Mobile revenues may be taking a battering as consumers worldwide cut spending, but carriers can take heart in anticipated growth in the mobile broadband market, according to research released this week.

Speaking to at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, industry researcher Nielsen said that European and US mobile users intend to dramatically increase the use of mobile data services over the next two years, with a significant ramp up in the next 12 months.

Based on a study of more than 50,000 mobile users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the US, Nielsen found that up to 71 per cent of consumers anticipate the daily usage of services such as mobile internet and more than half of the approximately 200 million mobile data users in those countries expect to increase use in the next two years.

Jeff Hermann, VP of mobile media for Nielsen Online, told,” there is a huge opportunity for operators if they get mobile data right.” According to the survey, operators can expect more network traffic from around 175 million consumers for services such as mobile internet, email, photo uploading and MMS.

“Mobile data services are not a luxury, but a necessity that consumers plan to purchase despite economic conditions,” said Pat Dolan, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, for mobile backhaul specialist Tellabs, which commissioned the research. “By planning urgent and strategic network upgrades, operators can quickly and cost-efficiently address users’ issues and meet increasing demands on networks.”

A breakdown of the top five services that non-users intend to start using shows that anticipated demand is not evenly split. US consumers will drive more new mobile internet use than Europeans. Around half of US non-users of the mobile internet intend to use it in the next two years, compared with a third of non-users in Europe. In the European countries close to 40 per cent of non-users also expect to start using MMS. Italy tends to be the leading adopter across all services, while Germany shows comparatively low adoption rates.

But pressure on networks will be compounded as 41 per cent of European and 71 per cent of US respondents anticipate daily use of mobile internet services. Mobile email is on a similar growth trajectory, as it is increasingly available through a range of mobile devices, according to Nielsen.