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The Mobile Data Pendulum Swings to the U.S.

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Mobile Data

By Jason Ankeny

For years, the United States lagged embarrassingly far behind Western Europe and the Far East in respect to mobile data adoption and innovation, but no more--thanks to a new generation of more sophisticated and user-friendly smartphones as well as a mounting number of must-have applications, the U.S. is now the standard by which other nations are judged.

During the first half of 2008, the U.S. moved past Japan as the world's most lucrative mobile data market, according to a report by advisory firm Chetan Sharma Consulting--U.S. operators racked up $17.5 billion in data revenues in the first six months of this year, versus $13.6 billion for Japanese operators. China followed in third place at $7.8 billion--together, the three markets account for close to 50 percent of combined worldwide data service revenues, Chetan Sharma notes.

In all, data revenues now account for almost 20 percent of worldwide operator service revenues. Japan's NTT DoCoMo led among individual operators with $6.8 billion in data revenues during the first six months of 2008, crossing 84 percent in 3G penetration. The remainder of the top 10, in descending order: China Mobile, KDDI, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, China Unicom, Softbank, O2 UK and T-Mobile USA.

According to Chetan Sharma, data revenues for the top 10 operators increased 10.3 percent from 2007 marks, and while their collective subscriber share is around 30 percent, their mobile data revenues represent close to half of global totals. During the first half of 2008, many carriers also experienced an increase in non-SMS data revenues--on average, Japan and Korea now rake in between 70 and 75 percent of their data revenues from non-SMS applications, with the U.S. between 50 and 60 percent and Western Europe around 20 to 40 percent. Who knows what 2009 will bring? [FierceMobileContent]

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