Data revenues to rule by 2014

The amount of traffic an operator carries is about to explode and within seven years the majority of that traffic will be data orientated, including music, video, messages, and enterprise applications, according to industry analyst ABI Research.

At the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona last week, ABI noted that mobile operators were scrambling over each other to reach mobile content providers.

Data heavy mobile content services will be key to their future success and handling that traffic efficiently will become the new challenge for operators, the company said.

Jake Saunders, Asia Pacific research director for ABI, said “Operators are now looking to YouTube Mobile, Jamster and Warner Music for content to excite and entertain consumers.

“Messaging platforms such as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices and enterprise solutions are driving up data traffic and non-voice revenue contributions,” he said.

According to the researcher, non-voice traffic now represents between 15 per cent and 29 per cent of operator service revenue. Of that, mobile internet downloads and data now contribute a very respectable 3 per cent to 17 per cent of total service revenue.

Vodafone has highlighted this recent content drive with its own deals to put MySpace, YouTube and eBay on the mobile. Last week the operator also announced a deal with Goole Maps.

At the end of 2006, there were over 100 million WCDMA 3G subscribers around the world, with that particular subscriber sector growing 102 per cent year on year and 16.6 per cent quarter on quarter.

“3G subscribers are providing a much needed shot in the arm for mobile operators, because they deliver an average revenue per user that is 5 per cent to 20 per cent greater than the average,” said Saunders.

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