In the first quarter of 2014, the overall worldwide mobile service provider revenue increased by just 0.58 percent year-on-year (YoY) to $264 billion, according to the latest global market study by ABI Research.
The aggregate service revenue for 2014 will grow 2.9 percent YoY to $1.01 trillion, mainly driven by the robust growth of the mobile Internet market.
Proliferating mobile data subscriptions and enhanced network capacity will drive global mobile Internet service revenue to $456.7 billion by 2019 -- that's 44.7 percent of total mobile service revenue.
That being said, despite global service revenue growth, the Western European market is shrinking do to aggressive competition and lower proces -- 1Q 2014 service revenue declined by 5.2 percent YoY.
"Facing continued price pressure driven by the competitive mobile market, mobile carriers have had to take on higher subscriber retention and acquisition costs to support their market positions. This has affected profitability," said Marina Lu, research analyst at ABI Research.
The major European carriers -- such as Vodafone, Telefnica, T-Mobile and Orange -- all suffered from gross profit decreases in 1Q 2014, whereas in North America mobile carriers are still demonstrating a positive outlook for gross profit -- due to much less disruptive market competition.
According to the ABI profitability analysis, Verizon Wireless beat China Mobile for the first time, carrying the top position for most profitable mobile carrier in aggregate for 1Q 2014, followed by China Mobile and AT&T respectively.
Strong growth in retail postpaid subscribers, increased smartphone customer base, enhanced 4G LTE smartphone line-up, and attractive pricing plans have contributed to Verizon's profitability.
In addition, Verizon also moved up one position to second in the ranking for quarterly gross profit per subscriber, at $77.10 on average. Relative to other advanced regions of the world, the U.S. subscribers pay more for the same basic services as the leading competitive markets.
ABI believes that there is no doubt that fast-growing mobile data consumption has helped to mitigate the declining voice and messaging ARPU trend.
Japan and South Korea mobile network service providers have spared no effort to boost mobile data usage, expecting monthly data traffic per wireless subscriber will reach 12 Gigabytes in 2019. Global mobile data traffic will reach 260.8 Exabytes by 2019, that nearly a six-fold increase on 2014.