Global mobile data service revenue -- including mobile internet and messaging revenue -- will rise by 21.4 percent between 2012 and 2014. It will then represent 40.4 percent of the $1 trillion mobile customers will be spending on their mobile phone services.
Thanks to strong commitments to LTE network deployment in Latin America and Africa, not just the developed markets, growth rates in the regions will be substantially faster as the increase in usage outstrips mobile data pricing decline.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, this represents a significant opportunity for regional mobile content and application (app) developers -- which will stimulate a very nascent mobile apps and content market-place.
North America will be the first region to see mobile data service revenue eclipse voice revenue in 2016.
"By offering unlimited voice calls and texts, while making data the only component in a bundled plan with positive marginal costs to consumers, wireless operators as AT&T and Verizon help to prop up voice and messaging, making positive revenue contributions in the short to medium-term," said Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research.
Rich Communication Services (RCS) and voice and messaging APIs are a key part of their strategy of making carrier-based calls and messaging relevant to their customers.
While global messaging service revenue is in gradual decline, mobile internet service revenue is very much the main driver of revenue growth (2012: $244.2 billion, 21 percent year-on-year).
As smartphones have become the entertainment hub in our lives, music, video and TV streaming’s contribution of mobile internet service revenue has jumped to 26 percent in 2012.
ABI's market data provides a source of financial and operational benchmarks -- not just for the markets as a whole, but also for mobile cellular network providers.