Mobile Navigation Users Increase 57 Percent Year-Over-Year To 44 Million

New data out from Berg Insight suggest the number of mobile subscribers using a turn-by-turn navigation service or application on their handset grew 57 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching 44 million users worldwide.

Showing substantial growth, the subscriber base is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.1 percent to reach 195 million users worldwide in 2015.  The research attributes the proliferation of GPS is nearly all mobile phones sold these days, combined with attractive prices for the strong growth.  In the US, where GPS handset penetration is above 70 percent, navigation services for mobile phones has already reached about 8 percent of the total mobile subscriber base.

A large share of these users get navigation as part of a service bundle together with a voice and data plan from their mobile operator.  As a response to the launch of free navigation apps for smartphones by Nokia and Google, more and more operators worldwide are now introducing bundled navigation services to offset the cost for end users.  Navigation service providers and mobile operators are also trying to monetize services by introducing various feature and content up-sells that allow users to customise navigation apps to suit their personal needs.

“Mobile operators and service providers are now accelerating their efforts to create differentiated navigation experiences with unique local content to compete against free services”, said André Malm, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.  He adds that integration of navigation services with other applications to stimulate usage will become increasingly important for mobile operators that seek additional revenues from location-based advertising.  “Since relatively few subscribers need turn-by-turn guidance on a daily basis, complementary features such as social networking, restaurant and event guides improve stickiness,” the research said.