Emerging markets leading the way on mobile data growth – report

The latest mobile data report from Strategy Analytics reveals emerging markets are driving global mobile data growth and may have a thing or two to teach richer markets, where growth is slowing.

The data is derived from a new report entitled “77% Mobile Data Traffic Growth in Q1 as Emerging Market Momentum Builds”. It notes that mobile data traffic growth is being driven by regions such as South East Asia and Eastern Europe and that a lot of this is down to the growth in affordable 3G handsets. Conversely a lot of developed markets have already exhausted the growth provided by 4G upgraders and can learn a thing or two about appealing to the long tail from the fast-growing markets.

“What we are seeing is that faster networks are the easy part in stimulating traffic,” Phil Kendall of Strategy Analytics told “The data stimulation strategy in developed markets to date has been one of pushing that approach into receptive segments who don’t need too much of an excuse to upgrade to that better smartphone – but the challenge we are seeing in Hong Kong, Singapore, USA is about pushing data use into the sizeable minority of users who have been less interested or willing to participate up until now and how to nudge existing uses further up the usage curve.

When you look to emerging markets, that is broadly the challenge they have faced to get data usage started, not just getting the laggards on board. One major element of that is just getting hold of cheap smartphones to sell – either “regular” product or more customized offers like Firefox or AndroidOne. Beyond that, there are strong business models there built around solutions such as: micro-bundles of data; micro-bundles of content; and bundling data use into device hardware costs.”

Kendall went on to explain that developed market operators are tending towards a one-size-fits-all strategy always focused on monthly data allowances, ideally as part of a long postpaid contract. If they want to extract data revenue from more moderate users they should have a look at how it’s done elsewhere and be a bit more innovative with their offerings.

SA mobile data chart

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