Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, May 26, 2008

U.S. Pays More for Mobile Phone Services

During the period 2007-2012, the worldwide mobile subscriber base is expected to increase by 1.8 billion, according to the latest market study by Portio Research.

Around 67 percent of these new subscribers -- a little above 1.2 billion subscribers -- are expected to come from just 10 fast-growing country markets worldwide. Of these top 10 growth markets, nine have been identified as high-volume, low-ARPU (Average-Revenue-Per-User) emerging mobile markets with significant potential in the next five years.

Portio's study identified only one truly wealthy nation among this top 10, the United States of America, home to one of the highest ARPU rates in the world, yet also the 4th biggest growth market of the 2007-2012 period.

The U.S. is expected to add more than 65 million mobile subscribers to the worldwide subscriber base in the period 2007-2012.

This might look relatively insignificant compared to the massive numbers expected to be added from high-growth markets such as China (542 million) and India (282 million), but what makes the U.S. mobile market an interesting market to study is the observation that a new mobile subscriber in the U.S. is expected to generate between three and 13 times as much revenue expected from a new mobile subscriber in China, India and the other emerging markets in the top 10 in 2012.

Translation: by comparison, Americans continue to overpay for their mobile phone service. Meaning, compared to other leading global markets, price competition still remains elusive in the U.S. mobile market -- likewise in the consumer broadband services market at home.

Compounding this aggressive growth is the high ARPU network operators in the U.S. achieve from their subscribers. Unlike many other mature mobile markets, where ARPU is in slow decline, in the U.S. ARPU is forecast to remain high, even increasing slightly from 2007 levels as we move forward over the next 4 or 5 years.

While the U.S. will contribute only around 5.5 percent to the total number of new subscribers that are expected from the top 10 markets in the period 2007-2012, in terms of revenue, the country will account for around 25.2 percent of the total mobile service revenues generated by these 10 markets in 2012.