Mobile Content Goldrush; $1 trillion Capex on Next Generation Networks

Data-heavy mobile content services will be key to the future success of mobile operators, according to ABI Research's two Research Briefs, "Mobile Operator Performance Benchmarks, 4Q-2006" and "Global Wireless Subscriber Dynamics, 4Q-2006" that track the latest developments in the global mobile marketplace. 

As of the end of 2006, there were over 100 million WCDMA subscribers around the world and the WCDMA subscriber sector is moving particularly fast, growing 102% YoY and 16.6% QoQ, said ABI Research. 

  • 3G subscribers are much more valuable for mobile operators, because they deliver an average revenue per user (ARPU) that is 5% to 20% percent greater than the average mobile subscriber. 
  • Non-voice now represents between 15% and 29% of operator service revenue, depending on the market. 
  • Of the total non-voice revenue, mobile Internet downloads and data now contribute a very respectable 3% to 17% of total service revenue. 
  • Minutes of use (MoU) are growing across all markets, with average MoU growing 1.8% YoY.

Operators are striving to lock down entertainment content, including not only broadcast network syndicated shows, but also user-created material that enables an operator to differentiate itself and reduce churn. 

The amount of traffic an operator carries is about to explode, and within seven years the majority of the traffic carried will be data-orientated (music, video streaming, messages, enterprise applications and more). Operators are now looking to YouTube Mobile, Jamster and Warner Music for content to excite and entertain consumers. 

Handling that traffic efficiently will then become the new challenge for operators.

According to another ABI Research Brief, network operators are slowly beginning to roll out all-IP next generation networks (NGN). By the end of 2007 there will be full NGN standards for fixed and mobile networks allowing IP-based services to be deployed on NGN, a process that ABI Research analysts expect to be largely complete by 2015 for a total cumulative investment of more than $1 trillion.

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