U.S Mobile Data Exploding, Revenues Top $12.5B In Q1, Verizon Now World’s Largest Mobile Data Operator

Need more proof that the world is increasingly connecting to the internet via mobile devices?  Enter a new report published by Chetan Sharma today that indicates mobile data revenues in the U.S. alone topped $12.5 billion in Q1, up 5 percent over the previous quarter and a year-over-year increase of 22 percent.

In addition, the report also states that Verizon Wireless is now the world’s largest mobile data operator in terms of revenue, jumping past Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, which held the title for the past decade.  Combined, Verizon and AT&T now account for 69 percent of U.S. mobile data revenues and 62 percent of the nation’s subscriber base.

An interesting tidbit from the report is a projection that by the end of 2010, global off-deck data revenues will exceed on-deck for the first time, adding that while on-deck revenues remain in the billions, the trend appears “irreversible.”  The average industry percentage contribution of data to overall ARPU surpassed the 30 percent benchmark in Q1, and is expected to top 35 percent by year’s end.  U.S. users now average 615 text messages per month, but non-messaging services continue to generate between 60 percent and 65 percent of U.S. operator data revenues.

The report notes the evolving mobile ecosystem in the U.S. that it calls “ground zero” for mobile broadband consumption and data traffic management.  While the U.S. lags Japan and Korea in 3G penetration by a distance — due to higher penetration of smartphones and datacards — the consumption is much higher than its Asian counterparts.

Given that it’s also becoming the largest deployment base for HSPA+, LTE and WiMAX, most of the cutting edge research in terms of data management and experimentation with policy, regulations, strategy, and business models is taking place in the networks of the US operators and keenly watched by players across the global ecosystem.

This should be music to the ears of anyone conducting business in the mobile ecosystem in the U.S., and especially for mobile marketers alike.  The U.S. has long been deemed a follower of other far more advanced “mobile nations,” but that notion is quickly changing, and it’s about time.