Market research firm Infonetics Research released its latest 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE) Services and Subscribers: Voice, SMS/MMS, and Broadband report, which found that globally, the mobile services market is forecast to grow to $976 billion by 2016, with the bulk of the growth coming from mobile broadband services
“The mobile world is undeniably shifting from voice to data, as mobile operators migrate as many subscribers as they can to data service plans and smartphones,” says Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research’s (Campbell, Calif., USA) principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics. “Already in North America and Asia Pacific, mobile operators derive over 40% of their mobile revenue from mobile broadband and messaging. But, while mobile broadband is no doubt the fastest growing revenue stream for operators, mobile messaging and voice aren’t dead just yet, not by a long shot.”
According to Téral, the prophecies of doom for mobile operator’s SMS/MMS cash cow are being exaggerated.
“Despite the popularity of over-the-top messaging applications like Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, our data shows SMS growing every year from 2012 to 2016, delivering a cumulative $1 trillion in operator revenue during those 5 years.,” says Teral. “And over that same period, voice revenue will decline only slightly, still making up a sizable chunk of operator revenues.”
According to the report, on a global basis, Infonetics expects operators to see a 6% increase overall in revenue from mobile voice, mobile broadband, and mobile messaging services in 2012. The highest growth in 2012 will come from Asia Pacific and Latin America, while the EMEA region is expected to see a slight decline due to cutthroat competition and economic turmoil.
Mobile data (text messaging, multimedia messaging, and mobile broadband) service revenue rose in every region in 2011, driven by an increase in smartphone usage, says Infonetics Research. At more than a quarter trillion dollars in 2011, Asia Pacific generates the largest portion of mobile service revenue.
The report also found that voice revenue dipped 0.8% worldwide in 2011, despite the growing use of voice services in China.