US Wireless Data Market Update - Q3 2007 November 18, 2007Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Search, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , trackback
US Wireless Data Market Update - Q3 2007
US wireless data market continued its growth reaching $6.4B in service revenues for the third quarter. With the holiday quarter to go, the aggregate data revenues for the year are already past the 2006 data revenue mark. Whether it was the first full quarter of iPhone sales, or the debate on the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction, or the rumors swirling around the gPhone, or the continued M&A activity - the US wireless data market remained vibrant in Q3. Given that majority of the data revenues now comes from non-messaging applications and services and the subscriber penetration for such services is just getting into the inflection zone, US remains one of the most attractive wireless data markets.
- US Wireless data service revenues grew 9.4% Q/Q to $6.4B in Q307. For the first nine months of 2007, the US wireless data service revenues stood at $17.7B jumping 59% from the same time period in 2006.
- Overall ARPU decreased slightly by $0.12 Q/Q to $53.50. The overall voice ARPU declined by $0.35 to $43.93 while data ARPU continued its steady incline, increasing by $0.53 to $9.57.
- Verizon continues to lead in both data ARPU as well as Data as a % of ARPU with $10.6 and 20.30% numbers respectively, in the process becoming the first US carrier to get past the $10 in data ARPU and 20% in data contribution. Sprint also touched $10 in data ARPU but is now last amongst the top four carriers in data % which stood at 16.95%. AT&T’s numbers were $9.35 and 18.4% respectively while T-Mobile’s performance also improved with $8.32 in data ARPU contributing 17.88%
- The strongest growth continues to come from Verizon, accounting for almost 31% of industry’s data revenue in Q307. Its data service revenues jumped by 11% Q/Q to $2B (again becoming the first US carrier to get past the $2B milestone). Verizon was followed by AT&T at $1.8B, Sprint at $1.2B, and T-Mobile at $676M.
- The % contribution of data to service revenues jumped to almost 18% in Q307 and is likely to touch 20% next quarter.
- Last week, US crossed the 250 Million subscription mark. The net-adds stabilized for the quarter even though Sprint lost 337K net subs. While AT&T is the only carrier to cross the 2M mark for net-adds/quarter this year, Verizon is ahead of AT&T in overall net-adds for the year by approximately 820K subs. iPhone couldn’t have come at a better time for AT&T which helped in stemming the tide of losing the market share to Verizon.
- The current net-adds rate for the year is 1.65M subs/month down from 1.92M subs/month in 2006 and 2M subs/month in 2005. Though the growth rate has expectedly slowed down, there is still plenty of room for growth over the next five years.
- The top three US carriers again maintained their respective rankings amongst the top 10 global carriers in terms of data revenues. For the year, Verizon with $5.4B, AT&T with $4.95B, and Sprint with $3.7B in service data revenues stood at #4, 5, and 6 respectively with Verizon closing in on KDDI for the number 3 spot. Verizon became one of only four operators in the world who are now generating $2B or more in data revenues/quarter (the other three are NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile, and KDDI). The carrier indicated that enterprise services such as data card and mobile email are generating in excess of $500M/quarter now.
- Non-messaging data revenues continue to be in the 50-60% (of the data revenues) range for the US carriers.
- There was tremendous activity in the area of Mobile Advertising. Google is also laying out its tactical roadmap in hopes to dominate the space and its every move in the mobile space makes its fellow brethren in Redmond scratch their heads. Meanwhile, Yahoo is busy stitching together carrier deals around the world. We just finished a comprehensive book on the subject. More details coming soon.
- Venture money continued to flow into the mobile sector taking the YTD investments to over $4B. Source: Rutberg. Mobile TV/Video, Mobile Personalization, Mobile Search and Advertising, Semiconductor, Carrier infrastructure, Device design and development are hot areas.
- iPhone became the quickest smartphone to eclipse the 1M mark in a quarter (by doing it in its first full quarter). By contrast, RIM took 22 quarters or 5.5 years to crack the 1M/quarter sale mark. Palm is still searching for the elusive milestone and might not find it in this lifetime. iPhone also made its entry into Europe and remains in intense negotiations with operators worldwide.
- Nokia eclipsed 100M unit sale in Q307 for the second straight quarter. Its 9 month tally stood at 303.6M followed by Motorola at 117.8M and Samsung at 114.8M. Nokia’s share of the market went up to 39.1% followed by Samsung at 14.6%, Motorola at 12.8% Sony Ericsson at 8.9% and LG at 7.5%. Apple shipped 1.12M iPhones during the quarter generating the revenue of $118M.
- Despite the sale of over 239M handsets by the top 5 manufacturers during Q307, the industry remained mesmerized by the advent of iPhone. Uncharacteristically, Apple lowered the price of the phone ahead of the holiday season.
- After the launch of iPhone, the talk of gPhone filled the rumoid. While the possibility of a gPhone launch remains open for 1H08, Google launched Android to keep things interesting in the industry.
- T-Mobile USA launched the first device with HotSpot @Home service in Q3.
- There was a renewed interest in LBS and it generated some huge M&A transactions in the sub-sector led by Nokia’s acquisition of Navteq.
- In terms of messaging, T-Mobile keeps their users more engaged than other carriers. Each T-Mobile subs exchanged on an average 758 messages last quarter compared to 584 messages by a Verizon sub and followed by 370 messages by an AT&T subscriber. By comparison, subscribers in Philippines engage in almost 2000 messages every quarter or pretty much a message every hour.
- In our 2005 paper on 3G diffusion, we estimated that 2007 will be the inflection year for 3G in the US market. In Q307, the 3G penetration was just shy of 20% with Verizon leading the pack with 50% 3G subscriber penetration. AT&T reported that 3G subs have over $20 in data ARPU accounting for 30% contribution to the overall ARPU from such subs. These trends are expected and the diffusion of mobile broadband will continue to create new opportunities and revenues for the ecosystem.
- Being “Open” is the new Black. Apple announced SDK for iPhone, Sprint touted XOHM, 700 MHz spectrum auction became a subject of great debate and posturing, and Google launched Android (in nov). The convergence of mediums is creating friction, introspection, fear, and opportunities (FIFO). We clearly live in interesting times.
Global update (more details in our worldwide wireless data market update coming out in Q108)
- The RIC in BRIC: We had a chance to visit and spend some time in Russia, India, and China during the past few months. These markets remain vibrant especially China and India adding an aggregate of 15.3M subs a month last quarter. India outpaced China with 24.2M net-adds vs. 21.68M in Q307. Mobile coverage in China is ridiculously good. We found strong RSSI in deep gorges on Yangtze as well as high up on the mountains. Regulators in both countries also gave some indications of granting spectrum for 3G.
- NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data revenues rankings crossing the $3B/quarter mark and taking its tally for the year to over $8.6B. They also crossed the 75% mark for 3G penetration. China Unicom edged past SK Telecom to occupy the number 9 spot. Rest of the rankings remained the same.
- Most of the major carriers around the world have double digit percentage contribution to their overall ARPU from data services. Operators like KDDI, DoCoMo, and O2 UK are topping 30%.
Your feedback is always welcome.