US Remains Fertile Soil for Smartphone Adoption, Mobile Data Revenue

Based on the latest research, projections, and other findings by management advisory firm Chetan Sharma Consulting, 2011 will be the biggest year on record for mobile data revenues in the United States.

According to the comprehensive report published Monday morning, the US wireless data market topped $15.4 billion in mobile data service revenues in Q1 2011 and is on course to increase year over year by 22% to $67 billion in 2011.

Of all the segments, the connected device category registered the highest growth at 9.6% Q/Q while the postpaid subscriptions growth was almost flat for the quarter. Connected devices (including tablets, M2M, telematics, eReaders, etc.) now account for 8% of the subscription base.

Equally astonishing is the fact that smartphone sales have now officially crossed the 50% share mark in the US. But the US remains fertile soil for smartphone adoption. The US, in fact, now accounts for nearly one-third of all smartphone sales in the world.

Other significant findings include:

  • For the quarter, AT&T and Verizon accounted for 69% of the market data services revenues and 65% of the subscription base.
  • AT&T edged past China Mobile to become #3 operator by mobile data revenues. Verizon is already at #1 followed by NTT DoCoMo. Sprint and T-Mobile maintained their #6 and #8 rank in the top 10 mobile data operators list for Q1 2011. The proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile will make AT&T #1 by a distance and place 20% of the global mobile data revenues in the hands of the top two US operators.
  • While the percentage share of the data revenues is declining for messaging, the revenue growth stays strong with almost $5B in revenues.
  • The market is finally starting to see activity in the mobile commerce and payment services as well as in various industry verticals like healthcare, retail, and education. The fight for the 3% block is finally in the open. Operators, financial institutions, and the internet players are all vying for a piece of the mobile wallet.