CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment Roundup 2009 October 12, 2009Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Federal,Indian Wireless Market,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,M&A,Microsoft Mobile,Middleware,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,Mobile Users,MVNO,Networks,Smart Phones,Speaking Engagements,Unified Messaging,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments
CTIA San Diego Roundup
San Diego is a casual town so this yearâ€™s CTIA fit nicely with an equally casual show, that felt more like a networking party sprinkled with some striking keynotes and engaging sessions. However, the biggest tremors were felt a day before the event started with Verizon getting in bed with Google and AT&T embracing VoIP with open arms. FCCâ€™s curiosity into the wireless world has yielded more action in 3 months than many years combined before. I was drawn more to the policy debate and the implications to the wireless industry in the US and to the rest of the world. There was intense discussion on appstores and their place in the future, mobile advertising and its maturity, enhancing retail experience, accelerated growth in mobile health in recent times, and of course the tremendous growth in the US wireless data market but if you already knew that. This note summarizes the observations and opinions from the event, discussions, and briefings.
A friend of mine at the FCC invited me to the FCC Broadband Field Hearing occurring simultaneously with the CTIA at the University of San Diego. I am glad I went. The first panel was on the App Ecosystem with a diverse panel of industry verticals â€“ rural, public safety, health care, environment, air quality, health care complimented by the discussion of the iPhone and its impact on the mobile industry. Chairman Julius Genachowski is to iPhone what President Obama was to Blackberry. He described his love for the apps with tender affection.
I am finding that the whole process of broadband planning to be quite interesting. The proceedings have been open and participatory, interest and feedback has been intense, and the principles have been clearly stated. This helped with a broader question that my CTO team for the FiREGlobal panel (to be held on Oct 15th) is addressing. We are tasked with a unique challenge of coming up with technology solutions for better civic discourse and our team consists of experts in the public and private enterprise to give a set of recommendations. We are currently under intense discussions and will unveil our suggestions on thursday. Stay Tuned.
Coming back to the FCC talk, Julius described four key principles:
- Most importantly he described the spectrum shortage as a looming crisis and that additional spectrum capacity is needed to handle the demand of data traffic from data cards and smartphones (something we have illustrated in detail in our paper – "Managing growth and profits in the Yottabyte era")
- Removing red tape to allow wireless carriers to build their network faster, for example, the work with cell towers
- Codify and enforce net-neutrality policies
- Operate more openly
While 1) and 2) have been discussed in the industry for some time, it is the mention of 3) and 4) that has changed industry in more ways than one. AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega took the stage after the Chairman and gave a spirited defense of the industry that requires no regulation. Frankly, the mere mention of the word "open" has had quite an impact on the industry in last 3 months. (I will be moderating two panels at the upcoming Open Mobile Summit on "What open means to apps providers" and "Apps in the cloud" in Nov, 2009)
Of course, as always, it is from the details that the devil flexes it muscles. How FCC will end up defining "open," "net neutrality," "network management" and other key items will determine the course of the industry. I wrote a piece that appeared in RCR Wireless â€œDefining Mobile Broadbandâ€ that outlined some of the same principles but from an operator strategy point of view suggested a much broader strategic imperative of building intelligent platform to survive long-term. The recommendations we made in our Yottabyte paper are being adopted and discussed much more openly since it was released in July. Due to significant interest, we will some follow-up research on the topic in the coming days, so stay tuned. I will be giving a ISACA luncheon keynote on the topic on Oct 20th. Of course, our Mobile Breakfast Series panel on mobile broadband will delve into the details of the broadband ecosystem on Dec 4th. Be sure to register.
Each year our small community in Issaquah, WA celebrates a festival â€œSalmon Days.â€ As I was strolling around the hatchery, it helped me prepare for my talk on the Appstore ecosystem. The fish traveling upstream has several parallels to the developers trying to make in the 80,000 db appond. So, I focused my talk on how the ecosystem needs to come together urgently to build the fish ladder to give more developers a chance to make it to the next level to create a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem. While Microsoftâ€™s mobile strategy is disarray right now, they are one of the few companies who understand the caring and feeding of the developer ecosystem (another one is Ebay). If the ecosystem focuses primarily on their profits and margins, the rich ecosystem might be at a risk of collapsing.
I discussed several factors that can help foster a healthier ecosystem starting with fish ladder. If you are interested in the presentation, please drop me a line. There was pretty good discussion from some experienced and successful developers. The emergence of appstore mania has been a double-edged sword. Developers are back in demand but their attention is finite and they are forced to allocate resources accordingly. I was also surprised to find out about the level of piracy and counterfeit goods in the appstore and how little is being done to protect legitimate developers. Some of the ladder factors I discussed were: greater revenue share, connection with investors, iTunes and carrier billing, location and presence, user profile and context, reports and analytics, $0 signup and certification, better search and discovery, social interaction and virality, flexible payment and billing models, better networks and devices, reduced fragmentation, more open APIs and marketing dollars. If you are interested, drop me a line and I will send you the ppt.
I also had a chance to moderate a panel on Mobile Advertising and the current state of affairs. While mobile advertising is the only advertising sector that has shown growth this year, it is not breaking out to stand on its own. Large media companies are primarily looking mobile as a complimentary channel though they are clearly enamored by its potential. Lack of clear, uniform, auditable metrics is another issue though various industry bodies have been working together and some guidelines are expected to be released next quarter.
Overall, the show felt like a sponsored networking party with hardly any new announcements, the show floor was easier on the feet, the attendance was down again. However, the hallway conversations and running into friends and colleagues from the distant past is always priceless. The only newsworthy highlight for me was the emergence of mobile healthcare and mobile retail as separate categories at CTIA. There is clearly much potential and interest in these areas. We will have more on these topics in the coming months.
Some of the news worth items were:
- John Donovan, CTO of AT&T opined on the growth in data consumption and how the company is tackling the upsurge in usage
- Qualcomm released FLO TV service and devices but at $250 and $9/month, it, like Kindle seems to be stuck in the fidelity belly.
- A number of local search services/apps are popping up: Geodelic, Aloqa, Decarta, etc. I built my first location app in 1996. 13 years hence, market seems to be coming around to the concept of LBS.
- Number of mobile health companies were displaying their wares: Airstrip, Corventis, TotGuard, Sensiotec, and others. Lot of investment will flow into this sector in the coming days.
- Companies like Openwave and Bytemobile talked about solutions for mobile data management.
- Mobile Retail is picking up with NFC and now Nokia’s initiative of Global Retail Executive Council
- More Androids are slated for release in 2010
It was great catching-up with friends and colleagues. Looking forward to the next one.3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,Carriers,Devices,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Japan Wireless Market,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Speaking Engagements,Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments
Yesterday at the TiE Seattle keynote, I introduced some research from my upcoming paper “Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era.” See coverage here.
I will be releasing the paper next week. In the meantime, here is the Introduction
In Q1 2009, the US market exceeded $10B in quarterly mobile data service revenues for the first time. The subscription penetration in the US is well past 90% and the mobile data usage is on the rise. While the rate of new subscriptions has slowed, the pace of innovation is going very strong. It is quite apparent that the mobile industry is going through a significant transition from voice to data, from making calls to getting lost in applications and from voice communications to multimedia communications. Helped by the ever expanding wireless broadband networks, and release of hit devices every quarter, and consumerâ€™s insatiable appetite for information and content has brought us to the surge of a data tsunami that will shake the industry to its core.
As everything moves digital, information repositories across the web is almost doubling every day. The information and the desire and the capability to consume oodles of data is increasing exponentially. As a result the traffic â€“ both Wireline and wireless is also increasing at a predictably fast rate.
In 2009, the global yearly mobile data traffic will reach a new milestone â€“ 1 Exabyte (EB) or 1 Million Terabytes (TB).  By 2016-17, the global yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 1 Zettabyte (ZB) or 1000 Exabytes. By 2014, in the US alone, the total yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 40 EB. How do you go about managing such growth in a profitable manner when the cost of supporting such traffic will increase exponentially despite the move to 4G? Will the move to LTE offer some respite?
This paper discusses the analysis done by Chetan Sharma Consulting on the growth of mobile data traffic in the US market and how the ecosystem can apply some strategies to manage growth and profits. We built detailed models to estimate the rise of mobile data network traffic and discuss some solutions to handle such growth in this paper.
 Source: US Wireless Data Market update Q1 2009, Chetan Sharma Consulting. It was also the first time any nation exceeded the $10B mark in a quarter for mobile data revenues.
 For reference, 1 TB = 1012 bytes, 1 PB = 1015 bytes, 1 EB = 1018 bytes, 1 ZB = 1021 bytes, 1 YB = 1024 bytes
 For the purposes of this paper, we consider LTE as a 4G technology though it hasnâ€™t been officially designated as such. For more discussion on 4G, please see 4G: The State of the Union, Chetan Sharma, GigaOM, 2009
US Wireless Data Market Update – Q1 2009 May 11, 2009Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,Mobile Users,Networks,Speaking Engagements,US Wireless Market,Wi-Fi,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments
US Wireless Data Market Update – Q1 2009
The US wireless data market grew 5% Q/Q and 32% from Q108 to reach $10B in mobile data service revenues. It marked the first time the US market has crossed the $10B milestone. Given the strong growth in data revenues shown by the top carriers and the increase in service revenues overall, it appears that at least for the time being that the worst is over for the mobile industry. In summary, the recession has been all but a tiny blip (from the service revenue perspective) in its growth trend and the US mobile market has weathered the downward spiral in economy better than its counterparts in other developing nations.
The US subscription penetration went passed 90%. While the flailing economy hit certain segments of the wireless ecosystem hard esp. the infrastructure and handset segments, consumers havenâ€™t really pulled back on the mobile data overall spending. Additionally, the CAPEX spending will stay strong in 2009 given the activity around 3G/4G deployments and trials. As expected, the data card subscriptions were hit the hardest and there was an increase of prepaid subscribers which dropped the overall revenues for some of the carriers.
As we mentioned in our last research note that this time around, the fate of the US mobile industry is more closely tied to the overall economy compared to the previous recessions. As the consumer sentiment improved over the last couple of months along with better than expected Q1 2009 earnings from corporations, the mobile industry seems to be back on track. While the structural flaws in various industry segments remain, and the economy is a crisis away from the double dip, the outlook for the remainder of 2009 remains bright and we are expecting the overall data revenues to now increase by 24% compared to 2008.
US Wireless Industry in Recession – The light at the end of the tunnel might not be of the oncoming train
The % GDP change dropped from 4.8% in 2007 to 2.3% in 2008. Q4 2008 reported a drop by 6.2% QoQ in one of the sharpest declines in the last quarter century. Q1 2009 reported a 6.1% decline. On an yearly basis, the GDP is expected to change by 3.2% for 2009 and the service revenues are expected to account for 1.13% of the US economy by year-end.
As mentioned in the previous report, while in the past, the recession hardly impacted the wireless industry, this time around; it is going to be more tied to the recession. In the past couple of months, the consumer sentiment has improved and the Q109 earnings have been better than expected. While there are still many structural flaws in the financial and housing industries and the unemployment is at a 25 year high of 8.9%, consumers are feeling better about the economy and their own prospects in it. Most companies are being optimistic but cautious.
So, what does this mean? Well, the markets can still be volatile, but overall the market seems to be feeling better about the economy than it was in February. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index experienced a significant jump to 39 (relative scale of 100) from being at an all-time low of 25 in February.
Given that consumer sentiment is improving, it appears that US mobile data market is all but back from the recession. While some segments within the mobile industry might be suffering, there has been an increase in spending overall.
What to expect in the coming months?
We noted in our Q3 2008 note that we will get a better picture of the impact of the recession on the wireless industry in Q109 as it was the first full quarter after the seasonal holiday quarter. There are two micro trends that are clear. First, as expected, due to the high unemployment, the data card segment took a hit. It will recover in due course as more of the workforce comes back over in the next 18 months.
Also, as expected, there was a shift from postpaid to prepaid in some user segments. For example, for T-Mobile, prepaid constituted 61% of the net-adds in Q109 up from 57% in Q408 and 25% in Q108. It is not clear if the good times will bring back the prepaid subscribers to the postpaid realm or like the consumers who are canceling their landline connections and moving to mobile, these customers will get used to savings and the prepaid lifestyle.
It is quite likely that 50-60% of such consumers donâ€™t go back to postpaid thus permanently lowering the ARPU base for such customers and carriers who have experienced more postpaid to prepaid shift will have to make up for the lost revenues someplace else (or maybe they can hire Oprah to send a tweet to her followers to upgrade to Postpaid. It will crash the system but increase the ARPU).
Rising unemployment continues to accelerate another trend – landline replacement by Mobile which reached almost 22% by Q109 (of course this benefits the mobile industry). This trend is irreversible and requires fresh thinking.
Messaging continues to grow. The messaging volume jumped 27% and messaging revenue was up 7% QoQ. The data access (excluding data card) including flat rate data plan subscriptions have also show significant strength lately. In addition to smartphones, we are also seeing increased mobile data activity amongst feature phone users.
The positive factors are helping negate the negative factors and given the strength of 3G and smartphone adoption, the increase in activity on the appstores front, and in general, a better awareness of mobile data services and applications amongst consumers, any decline due to the loss of data card revenue and postpaid transition to prepaid accounts has been taken care off. In particular, Verizon and AT&T have done really well. Smartphones remain a bright spot, which in turn has a direct positive impact on the data revenues. Even with the decline in handset sales, smartphone segment will continue to increase in 2009 accounting for almost 30% of the overall device shipments.
We are likely to see continued price and margin pressure on subscription plans and as a result, voice ARPU will continue its downward trend and data ARPU will become a more prominent factor of the ARPU mix by the end of 2009 reaching over 30% of the service revenues.
This will lead to new business and pricing models for e.g. some will find the low flat rate pricing untenable in the long-run without a fundamental rethink of the network and business architecture.
Coming back to the 2009 forecasts, we are raising our estimates for the mobile data service revenues to $42B for the year. We will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.
Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q109 US wireless data market is:
Service Revenues (Slides 11, 18)
- The US Wireless data service revenues grew 5% Q/Q to $10B in Q109. Compared to Q108, the data service revenues grew 32%.
- It marked the first time the US mobile data service revenues crossed $10B. It is also the first time any country has reported a $10B quarter (for mobile data services).
- Thanks to the Alltel acquisition, Verizonâ€™s data revenues grew the most – 18% QoQ and 46% YoY. AT&T experienced a 39% lift while T-Mobile reported a 24% increase in YoY data revenue growth.
- Last quarter AT&T surpassed Verizon in data revenues for the first time since 2005 and in Q109 Verizon duly took many of titles back from AT&T becoming the number 1 carrier in almost all the categories.
- AT&T and Verizon now account for 68% of the market data services revenues. Sprint had a fourth consecutive quarter of data revenue growth.
- The average industry percentage contribution of data to overall ARPU is now $26%. US market is likely to exceed the 30% mark in 2009.
- The top four US carriers are now a permanent fixture in the top 10 global operators by mobile data service revenues occupying #3, #4, #6, and #8 spot respectively. Apart from NTT DoCoMo and China Mobile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T are the only two other operators generating more than $3B in quarterly mobile data service revenues.
ARPU (Slides 12-15)
- Overall ARPU decreased by $0.91. Average voice ARPU declined by $1.17 while average data ARPU grew by $0.26 or 2% and couldnâ€™t negate the drop in voice ARPU.
- Sprint led in data ARPU with $15 followed by Verizon at $14.16. In terms of % contribution, Verizon led with 27.91% followed by AT&T at 27.2%.
Subscribers (Slides 16-17)
- In Q109, the US market added almost 3M new subscriptions down 33% from Q108.
- The number of data subscribers has been on the rise with Verizon leading the way. At the end of Q109, 62% of US subscribers were using some form of data services.
- The messaging volumes in the US market now average 485 messages/subscriber/month or at the frequency of a message/sub every 1.5 hours. The leading messaging nation is Philippines where consumers routinely send a message/hr on average.
- In terms of net-adds, Verizon led in Q109 with 1.3M net-adds, edging its friendly rival AT&T which added 1.2M net subscriptions. Sprint losses reduced to 180K subscribers.
- With its Alltel acquisition, Verizon became the number one carrier in the US easily overtaking AT&T. It now has 86.6M subs and secured the bragging rights to being the biggest operator in the Americas.
- The 3G penetration in the US went past 40% in Q109. Verizon led the pack while T-Mobile is slowly expanding its 3G coverage. The growth in 3G and smartphones is helping offset some of the downward pressure on the data revenues and overall ARPU.
Applications and Services
- Non-messaging services continue to grab 50-60% of the data revenues for the US carriers. For the first time the non-messaging share exceeded 60%.
- The flat-rate pricing movement that was started by Willcom in Japan which moved to Europe became more prevalent in the US market with industry wide flat-rate pricing plans that included data. All the major carriers seem to be offering flat-fee access plans for most of the new smartphones being introduced in the market. Approximately 17% of the consumers have flat-rate data plans. We will see a further acceleration of this trend aided by the recession.
- There are probably 18-20 sub-segments within mobile data services and consolidation looms. While the valuations are still high for rapid consolidation, we think that due to recession pressure, the M&A scene is starting to heat up.
- The usage and data consumption trends are enabling carriers to accelerate their 4G plans and develop long-term business and technical strategies (I will be moderating a panel on â€œThe future of Broadbandâ€ at the â€œFuture in Review (FiRE)â€ conference on May 20th in San Diego where some of the best minds on broadband will be debating the evolution of our industry)
- The appstores battle is intensifying with OEMs and carriers are announcing their plans and some of them are opening their wares to woo the developer community. In the midst of the appstores hoopla, Apple announced the passing of the 1 Billion download mark with increasing number of developers participating the ecosystem. The new functionality being released with 3.0 is going to take the battle up a notch. The clear-cut business model of 30/70+ split is attractive to the long-tail of developers. While there is no dearth of applications, findability remains a challenge. Also, appstores are changing the monetization strategies for content and application developers (I will be moderating the panel â€œWireless Monetizationâ€ at TiECON on May 16th in Santa Clara)
- Slowly but surely, mobility is becoming pervasive across industry verticals. Mobile Health looks very promising and the impact could be global. (I will be participating in a conference on mHealth being held in San Francisco on May 22nd by UN Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, UCSF Global Health Services, Berkley Engineering, Cisco, and NetHope)
- After selling over 100M units for seven straight quarters, Nokia slipped to 93M handsets in Q109, still more than the next three players combined but an 18% drop from Q408 nevertheless. Samsung and LG have been really gaining on their rivals in the past year and are now at #2 and #3 respectively. Motorola and Sony Ericsson with 6% share each round up the top five.
- While Apple has been stealing all the press, RIM upped the ante by claiming leadership in the smartphone wars by outselling Apple in the first quarter of the year.
- The growth in smartphone usage is also putting pressure on the networks which are not able to handle the load during peak times in certain cities thus forcing carriers to look for alternate strategies to satisfy the demand for broadband – metered billing, UMA, Femtocells, Hotspot buys, WiMAX, LTE, and others.
- Rest of 2009 is eagerly awaiting the release of Palm Pre, several Android handsets from HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and others, Windows devices along with follow on of Danger devices, new model(s) of iPhone, and other touch screen devices.
- Not surprisingly, Venture money in the mobile sector experienced a rapid decline. Compared to Q108, venture financing declined by 58%. (Source: Rutberg)
- In a sign of convergence battles to come, T-Mobileâ€™s @Home and various Femto cell initiatives are taking hold. Cable operators are also aggressively seeking triple-play by providing the wireless component of the service.
We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Aug 2009. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Sept 2009.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Should you have any questions about navigating or understanding the economic and competitive icebergs, please feel free to drop us a line.
Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.
NAB recap – Open, Personalization, Advertising April 26, 2009Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,Devices,European Wireless Market,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Privacy,Speaking Engagements,Strategy,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far
Last week, I was invited to present and moderate at the biggest Broadcaster’s show – the NABSHOW in Las Vegas. Compared to CTIA, the show was almost double with registered attendees exceeding 83K. For me, it was a day trip. I was involved with the Mobile Entertainment Summit being held on the 22nd.
The day started with the keynote from Matt Oomen, VP of Product and Technology development at Sprint Nextel. He laid the foundation for the day’s discussion with some overarching themes of Open Platforms, Open Devices, Social Networking, Personalization, and Broadband capabilities of the mobile industry. There were a number of great panels discussing the growth in the mobile video and applications space with panelists from all across the value chain. The bottom-line:
- For mobile video to succeed, we need to reduce the number of global standards so that there is some standardization for OEMs and content providers instead of running around integrating new standards every year.
- People didn’t think that was going to happen anytime soon
- Apple’s Appstore has been a boon to some developers as they have refocused their monetizing strategies from advertising to subscription or charging for downloads which is good for the industry as it can diversify and experiment more. A company that has been successful at that is Glu Mobile
- Zynga has an interesting model of social networking based games. The games are free but as you get more involved and want to raise the stakes, the price goes up, quite significantly with over $50 chips, etc. Idea is that a small population can fund a large base involvement for free
- Texting has been quite successful with mobile marketing and advertising. Hipcricket and Singlepoint with support from Entravision and Fox argued (and rightly so) that to be successful, broadcasters should start developing their audiences and provider personalized services.
Next up were two of my panels. First one was on Mobile Trends being jointly presented with Brian Jurutka, VP Comscore. The session was moderated by Jay Frank, SVP, CMT. Brian presented some really interesting data on mobile video in the US market. A good number of video downloads are happening sideloaded and overall usage remains low.
Another interesting tidbit was for 3G vs. non-3G users
And while iPhone helped change the ecosystem, video usage looks quite similar to G1. Another interesting data point was that the video consumption tapers off with time for users meaning that content providers need to keep users engaged with different strategies.
I presented data on the overall US market and how that is evolving and ended up some observations and recommendations.
Next up was my panel discussion on how Mobile Innovations will impact Mobile Entertainment Experiences. I had the honor of moderating four very clued-in folks
Rebecca Hanson, VP, Strategic Initiatives, Sprint. She has been behind the WiMAX launch
Sajal Sahay, Director, Product Marketing, T-Mobile USA. He has been behind the Android G1 launch
Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Venture Partners. He has been involved in the mobile industry for over 10 years as an investor and sits on several technology company boards and is very active in discussing emerging trends
and Raj Ray, Director, VAS, Qualcomm. He has been behind developing the VAS business for Qualcomm globally, esp. in the emerging economies
Salient points of our discussion:
- Broadband provides great incentive for user to experiment with new apps and content
- Appstore while increasing fragmentation will also increase competition and hence innovation
- Openness drives innovation and carriers play an important role in driving that
- For 3G, Usage growth is much higher than revenue growth so we need to figure out ways to bring them in alignment
- Social networking needs to be embedded into everything
- Role of alternate devices like kindle and cameo is increasing and we will see all sorts of vertically integrated devices. More and more consumer electronics devices will have cellular connection
- Thanks to iPhone, interesting gaming models are emerging and gaming might provide guidance on how the ecosystem will develop
- Data MVNOs anyone?
- Emerging economies are bringing forth some interesting monetization and device technologies that will benefit everyone like high-end smartphones for less than $50
- Advertising based monetization model is not everyone. One has to scale first
- The biggest areas to invest: Personalization, Audience Measurement, QoS related, Payments, Android Games, Carrier agnostic user profile platforms, mobile cloud computing, augmented reality and much more
Overall a great show. I noticed that even Google had a booth (was absent at CTIA). Something to put on the calendar for next year. My thanks to Michael and Zahava for inviting me to participate.
My next events are at:
TiECON – May 16th – Mobile Monetization
Future in Review – May 20th – Future of Mobile Broadband
mHealth – May 22nd
Hope to see some of you there
CTIA 2009 Roundup April 6, 2009Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,International Trade,IP,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,Mergers and Acquisitions,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,Speaking Engagements,Strategy,Unified Messaging,US Wireless Market,Wi-Fi,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far
CTIA 2009 Roundup
CTIA provided a boost to the Las Vegas economy by hosting the 2009 International CTIA in the sin city. Prior to the show, we knew that the attendance will be down due to the economy and it was clear from day 1 that it will be a less busy event. Attendance was probably down 30-40%, Exhibitors seemed down by a good percentage as well with many opting for meeting rooms instead or skipping the show altogether. The big double story compounds were downgraded to smaller fields. Samsung and LG didnâ€™t plaster the town with massive banners, taxis werenâ€™t covered in advertisements. It was not all bad though, the probability of being trampled by humans reduced, taxi lines were shorter (though no less annoying) and the quality of the show was still pretty good. We had a jam packed schedule. This note summarizes the observations from the show.
Numbers CTIA released its semi-annual numbers. For 2008: 270M subscribers, $148 billion in service revenues, $32 billion in data revenues (just for reference, this is more than the total global Hollywood box-office revenue which came in at $28B), 2.2 trillion in MOU, 1 trillion TXT messages. You can checkout our annual US data market analysis which was released last month here.
Etech Contest â€“ Prior to the event, CTIA invited us to judge the Emerging Technology Contest. It was fun reviewing the various entries. The award winners are announced here. Congrats to all.
My CTIA started early with a couple of sessions at the pre-conference event – BRIC Mobile Market Summit. The quality of the discussion was pretty good. I gave a talk on the Opportunities in the Indian and Chinese mobile markets and discussed where the opportunities in these two fastest growing markets as well as dispel some myths that engulf most companies.
After that, I joined the panel with other experts in the industry to have a lengthy discussion of the trends and opportunities in these markets including Latin America.
Unfortunately, our workshop on â€œMonetizing Mobile User Generated Contentâ€ got canceled due to low attendance or maybe folks are just not interested in monetizing these days. I will be discussing some of the similar themes in my talk at the NAB Show (MES) in Vegas on 22nd April. I will also be moderating a panel on Innovations in Mobile Experiences.
If interested, clients of Chetan Sharma Consulting can request the slides from any of the talks.
Themes: The main themes of the conference were: Broadband (primarily around 4G and LTE with sprinkles of WiMAX) and data usage, Green, Mobile Health, Appstores, Rich Communication and Social Networking.
4G â€“ My first 4G project was back in 2003 for NTT DoCoMo when 4G didnâ€™t even enter industryâ€™s vernacular. Most operators were figuring out their 3G strategies. Six years hence, we have come a long way. Broadband, 4G, and LTE were the core themes of the conference and there was visible progress from the last CTIA with more test results, actual devices, and real demos. While the current reports suggest that some form of deployment will take place in 2010, we donâ€™t expect the â€œrealâ€ commercial deployments before 2011, LTE voice will even take longer. So, where does this leave WiMAX. With each passing day, the role of WiMAX as a niche technology is affirmed. The backhaul bottleneck problem is also becoming prominent and the enhancement of backhaul is behind the RF infrastructure to provide any substantive improvements in data throughputs at least in the near future.
I will be moderating a panel on 4G at Future in Review (FiRE) conference considered by Economist the best Tech conference on the planet (panelists include executives from Telstra, Qualcomm, Clearwire, and others) to get delve deeper into the evolution of 4G.
The Broadband Stimulus â€“ Many companies are eying the $8B broadband stimulus package. The process of how they are going to be granted seems chaotic with unintended consequences. My feeling is that it is a lost opportunity. Instead of just looking at incremental enhancements, US could have been bold and improved existing and new broadband deployments by over 50-60 times. (More discussion here)
Keynotes â€“ I thought Dr. Eric Topol, Director, Scripps gave perhaps the most effective keynote addresses in recent memory. Keynotes are generally a drab affair. Instead of inspiring through vision many put the audience to sleep with their product announcements. Dr. Topolâ€™s speech was so rich in content, his words were filled with such passion, and his articulation was so inspiring that most entrepreneurs in the room were energized to make a difference. I commend CTIA for inviting him. He is joining Qualcommâ€™s Don Jones (a fierce proponent of mHealth) and others to form the first ever Wireless Health Institute in San Diego. Expect some really cool stuff to come out of them. However, to be most effective, health institutions need to get on board with the program starting with the simplest of things like â€œtxt messages.â€ Come on folks, move into the 21st century!
Health â€“ For the first time, there was significant discussion on mobileâ€™s impact on the health care industry. My masters is in Biomedical Engineering so it is great to see the marriage between the two industries. I strongly believe if we can get past some of the bureaucratic nonsense, mobile can have a significant lasting impact on the quality of life and healthcare in both the developing and developed nations. Some of the stuff is really amazing (iBrain, iPill, iShoe, you get the picture). I will have more discussion on the subject in the coming days.
Applications and Services
You say appstore, I say appworld, you say market, I say marketplace â€“ I have been working on appstores for so long that I canâ€™t help but be amused by the recent frenzy of appstores sprouting like mushrooms. I think overall it is good for the industry as each of the providers will push each other in areas of innovation and pricing models thus opening up the industry for developers and consumers. However, the fragmentation also increases as a result and something has to give because developerâ€™s attention and resources are finite. There arenâ€™t many companies who can pull-off a successful developer program (this is one area where Microsoft has some advantage because of significant experience in cultivating developers). Appleâ€™s model has already forced carriers to accelerate their short-term and long-term strategies. T-Mobile USA saw the writing on the wall earlier than most and is further along in its plans. Current implementations are still quite primitive with much potential for improvement.
Rich Communication â€“ Talked to some companies (Aylus, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, etc.) about rich communication services that integrate various experiences on the mobile device including chat, voice, data, social networking, video, etc., onto a single screen. The user experience is enhanced leading to newer sources of revenues for operators.
Netbooks also seem to be on operator roadmaps with 33% of these devices expected to be sold through the carrier channels in 3 years. Will Nokia and Motorola get active in this space? Or will the new entrants use netbooks to enter the phone market? Inspired by Kindle, many players are getting bolder and investing in application specific devices (a trend we wrote about in our mobile advertising book last year). Examples: a cool new wireless video game console â€“ Zeebo being launched in Brazil and nuvifone being launched by Garmin and Asus.
Mobile Social Networking â€“ Some interesting social networking features and functions are coming down the line. I am convinced that carriers need to treat social networking as a core service rather than a bolt on application. I almost wrote a book â€œThe Facebook Effectâ€ but 3 books in a year were too many so taking a break for now. (Maybe the next one will be â€œThe Twitter Effectâ€).
Mobile Advertising â€“ Though we have been involved with several mobile advertising projects, at the show, it felt the segment excitement was quite flat and many companies are struggling to stay in business. The consolidation hasnâ€™t come yet but things are likely to start changing in the next few months. I also think that industry needs to start thinking about much more compelling and engaging closed-loop creative experiences rather than just impressions. Also, third party verification is needed (who is going to step up?). Finally, the role of the mediation layer is becoming important. The real substantive announcement came before CTIA with four major US operators agreeing to collaborate on best practices. Kudos to MMA for orchestrating the agreement.
Green is the new black â€“ With so much focus on cleantech and global warming, vendors are stepping up and making a dent in the carbon put out by the industry. There were some really cool solar chargeable devices as well as applications that keep the users green-aware. Being green is a competitive advantage.
Devices â€“ The quality of devices that coming out keeps getting better. Stuff coming out from Samsung, LG, and INQ is pretty darn cool (Motorola, Nokia, Palm have some good stuff coming out as well). There were some neat concept phones on display as well (I know, I know, we are ways out but I think we will see some of these come to light sooner than we think). I thought one of the coolest new device was from LG â€“ GD900 with transparent keypad. Samsungâ€™s DLNA and AMOLED based devices were also quite good. They were also showing the WiMAX Smartphone Mondi. ZTE is also planning to enter the US market in a big way. While new Androids were hard to spot, several of them are scheduled to be released in the next few months.
NTT DoCoMo â€“ Each CTIA, I love spending time in DoCoMoâ€™s booth as they are always at the cutting edge of whatâ€™s to come. Downloading your digital key to your handset to open your hotel room by waving your phone, controlling every piece of equipment in your home via your cell phone, i-concier: your friendly on-screen butler, separable phones were some of the highlights.
Best booth: Most Creative â€“ SpinVox, Most Hip â€“ LG
Interesting companies â€“ While it is difficult to meet each of the upcoming startups, couple of companies caught our attention: Waze out of Israel with its crowd-sourcing based approach to real-time traffic information and Kovio with its ability to lower the cost of printed silicon.
3G connection â€“ My 3G connection was so good throughout the show that I didnâ€™t need to lug my laptop around and did 100% of my communications for 3 days from my phone.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.3G,4G,AORTA,CTIA,Devices,US Wireless Market,Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far
US Wireless Data Market Update Q408 and 2008 March 2, 2009Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,Middleware,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Search,Speaking Engagements,US Wireless Market,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments
US Wireless Data Market Update Q408 and 2008
The US wireless data market continued to ignore the recession doldrums in Q4 2008 and grew 7.3% Q/Q and 38.7% from Q407 to reach $9.4B in mobile data services revenues. In 2008, the mobile data services revenues reached our original estimate of $34B. Even as the global industry crossed 4B in subscriptions and $1T in total revenues, the nervousness due to the current recession has been palpable. While the flailing economy has started to hit hard on the wireless data ecosystem esp. the infrastructure and handsets segments, consumers havenâ€™t really pulled back on mobile data spending overall, just yet. There are sub-segments within mobile data revenue stream that are starting to feel the pinch like data card subscriptions and downloadables. Also, in an event of a longer recession, the fate of the US mobile industry will be more closely tied to the overall economy this time compared to the previous recessions.
US Wireless Industry in Recession – A collision of two perfect storms
Back in 2005, we published a paper titled â€œ3G – Hitting the Mass Marketâ€ in which we presented the case for an explosive market growth in the US market riding on the back of 3G and posited that by 2009, US will become the leading nation in terms of the number of 3G subscribers. As of 2008, US crossed 100M 3G subscribers catapulting ahead of all industrialized nations in terms of total subscribers (% penetration was around 40%). The paper was based on our work in various markets and study of diffusion trends in the global markets. That study became the subject of several articles and cover stories and was one of the central documents (including our testimony in the case and a report to the President) referred to in one of the most prominent wireless industry cases in front of the US International Trade Commission. Our basic thesis was simple – once you have the favorable ecosystem factors in place, the market is ripe for explosive growth.
2008 was a key year for growth in the mobile data services adoption in the US market. The confluence of 3G, better devices and the smartphones, and the applications ecosystem set the stage for tremendous growth. We already saw signs of significant user adoption and the market grew 7-9% QoQ each quarter in 2008. From almost being in the bottom-most square in 2005 (in our 9-box ARPU charts), US market gained strength to find itself amongst the leaders by the end of 2008 (more on this in our Global Wireless Data Market update for 2008 coming out later this month). At mid-2008 point, 2009 looked to be another year of growth and adoption.
However, the current recession is not your parentâ€™s recession. The problems with the economy are so deep and its impact on the consumer spending and sentiment is so massive that most economists are scrambling to make sense of it. Nobody really has a firm grip on how to fix the current mess because a recession of this magnitude complicated by a globalized economy hasnâ€™t occurred before, so there is no playbook to lean on. We might get lucky and things could turn around in a couple of quarters but things could also take a turn for the worst that might take many more quarters to recover. Markets are incredibly volatile and so are the consumers. All consumer confidence indices are down to their worst ratings ever (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was down to 25 (on a relative scale of 100) to reach yet another all-time low in February (index began in 1967)).
So, we stand at the junction of two perfect storms – one that has the promise of an incredible surf to take the mobile industry to new heights while the other is hell bent on destroying everything in its path. Will the growth surf be strong enough to absorb the economic tidal wave? or will it set us back in time? or will we end up somewhere in between?
The answer lies in how quickly the consumer sentiment and market psychology improves and stays consistently positive over a period of 3-6 months. If the situation improves in the next 1-2 quarters, the recession will be all but a blip in the overall US mobile data market historic charts. If however, this downward spiral continues and the confidence in the markets is not restored, consumers will start cutting some of the discretionary mobile data spending, even cutting down some family lines, and downgrading of mobile plans (including data) at an accelerated rate. If it is the latter, we are in for a fundamental reset of the economy as Steve Ballmer eloquently outlined in his talk to the Democratic Caucus in Feb.
Impact on the US Wireless Industry during Recessions (Slides 11 and 12)
The current recession is not the first one that the US wireless industry has faced but it is quite different this time around. The first one came in 1990 and lasted for one year and the second came amidst the dot-com bubble and terrorist attacks in 2001 and lasted for two years. Historically and logically, GDP and consumer spend is closely correlated. When the economy contracts, so does the consumer spending. A look into the income elasticity of demand indicates a change in consumer mobile services demand as a result of drop or change in consumer income. Different patterns of consumer demand emerge in different countries depending on the state of the industry during the specific downturn.
To put things in perspective, US represents 21% of the global economy and the US services revenue represents 1.1% of the US economy as of 2008. In access of 70% of the US economy is linked to consumer consumption so you can see the tight linkage between the GDP and the consumer spending (the US consumer spending alone is more than the economies of China and India combined).
If we compare the US GDP data to the mobile services revenues and subscriber data, there is some correlation during recessions i.e. service revenues contract but the state of the industry was quite different around on previous occasions. The % change in mobile services revenues and subscriptions went down with the drop in GDP in both instances and recovered as the GDP pulled back after the recession. During the first recession, mobile was a niche service. By 2001, mobile had passed the inflection point on to become a mass-market phenomenon but data services market was largely non-existent. By 2008, the US mobile market had matured with high-degree of subscriber penetration and mobile data had become a healthy and vibrant industry.
Letâ€™s look at how the mobile industry behaved in the various recessionary periods over the past two decades.
1990-1991 The % GDP change (GDP compared to previous year) dropped from 5.8% in 1990 to 3.3% in 1991. The mobile services revenues % change dropped from 36% to 26% over the same time period, the subscriber % growth dropped from 51% to 43%. Subscriber penetration at the end of 1990 was around 3%. Given the smaller base, the drop in mobile numbers can be partially attributed to the fact that as the % subscriber penetration grows the % change numbers come down anyway. In 1992, when % GDP jumped to 5.7%, the % change in mobile services revenues and total subscribers jumped to 46% and 37% respectively, thus quickly reversing the downward trend.
2001-2003 The % GDP change dropped from 5.9% in 2000 to 3.2% in 2001. Over the same period, % change in mobile services revenues dropped from 31% to 24% and % change in total subscribers dropped from 27% to 17%. However, as you would see in slide 11, these numbers have been slowly dropping regardless of the recession as the subscriber and revenue base grew. The subscriber penetration in 2000 was 39%.
2007- The % GDP change dropped from 4.8% in 2007 to 2.3% in 2008. Q4 2008 reported a drop by 6.2% QoQ in one of the sharpest declines in the last quarter century. The nature of this recession is quite different as well. While the previous recessions were limited to certain segments of the overall economy, the current recession has touched almost all sectors with a vengeance. The subscriber penetration at the end of 2008 was 89%. The overall ARPU stayed pretty steady around $50 between 2001 and 2008, while data ARPU became a growing component of the overall mobile services revenue.
What to expect in the coming months?
As we noted in our Q3 2008 note, in some sense, the Christmas quarter might have masked some of the microtrends within the mobile data segment of the industry though Europe started to feel the pinch in Q4. If one looks deeper into the sub segments, as we contemplated in our Q3 research note, it is clear that the layoffs are having an impact on the data card revenues (which account for approx. 10-12% of the overall mobile data revenues in the US) as the enterprises are dropping access cards with employees. Downloadables revenues were down from some segments of the user base as discretionary spending tightens.
Also, there was a shift from postpaid to prepaid in some user segments. For example, for T-Mobile, prepaid constituted 57% of the net-adds in Q408 sharply up from 23% in Q407 (though Suncom subscriber base probably has something to do with it). Rising unemployment has accelerated another trend – landline replacement by Mobile which reached almost 20% by Q408 (of course this benefits the mobile industry). This trend is irreversible unless new experiences can be introduced.
Messaging continues to grow. The messaging volume jumped 15% and messaging revenue was up 5.5% QoQ. The data access (excluding data card) including flat rate data plan subscriptions have also showed significant strength offlate. In addition to smartphones, we are also seeing increased mobile data activity amongst feature phone users.
The key question is – will the increase in the mobile data subscriber base nullify the loss in data subscriptions? and the answer seems to be – likely yes. But, if the job losses continue at the current rate, we will start to see flattening of data revenues in Q109 for some operators and a gradual decline over the course of the year. We have already started to see infrastructure (operators are slowing down 3G/4G investment) and device segments (replacement cycles are getting longer) getting hit pretty hard. Smartphones remain a bright spot, which in turn has a direct positive impact on the data revenues. Even with the decline in handset sales, smartphone segment will continue to increase in 2009 accounting for almost 30% of the overall device shipments.
As we eluded to earlier, another factor at play is the growth in 3G and smartphone penetration in the US market, both of which have been responsible for increasing the usage and hence the data revenues. At the end of Q408, 3G penetration was approximately 40% and the data penetration had reached 60%. Smartphone penetration has been inching up as well. In fact, all the service providers and OEMs have been targeting sub-$200 price point, which seems to be a good sweet spot for consumer adoption. The above two factors have also been helping negate any cancellations or downgrading of data plans.
We are likely to see continued price and margin pressure on subscription plans and as a result, voice ARPU will continue its downward trend and data ARPU will become a more prominent factor of the overall ARPU mix by the end of 2009. The longer the recession lasts, the more permanent the shift in voice ARPU becomes. Customer retention will edge customer acquisition. Same would be true with the consumer behavior and expectations. This will lead to new business and pricing models for e.g. some will find the low flat rate pricing untenable in the long-run without a fundamental rethink of the network and business architecture.
The percentage contribution to the overall ARPU from data reached almost 25% in 2008 and is likely to exceed 30% by the end of 2009. For the first time since 1998, the voice ARPU dip below $40 in the US.
During the last downturn, the likes of Google emerged. These players didnâ€™t have much to do with the mobile market at the time but have gradually put their indelible stamp on the future of the industry. It is almost certain that new media and telecom models will emerge as a result of the current crises with new players shaping the next decade of the mobile industry.
Whether this recession invites regulatory intervention remains to be seen. Government can encourage mobile adoption by reducing taxes and fees on mobile services, avoiding unnecessary regulations, making more spectrum readily available, increasing competition, investing and incentivizing in mobile broadband.
Also, will the industry price or innovate its way out of this recession? The short-term knee-jerk reaction is to generally lean on price-differentiation but innovative services and business models can lay the ground work for a more sustainable differentiation and long-term benefits from new services adoption.
Coming back to the 2008 forecasts, our estimate of the mobile data revenues was spot on. The annual mobile data services revenue stood at $34B. We will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings. Q109 numbers will give us a better insight into the impact of the current recession on the US mobile industry and the global markets at large.
The bottom line is that in an event of a long and deep recession (i.e. beyond 2009), which I am afraid seems to be the case, the fate of the US mobile industry will be more closely tied to the overall economy this time compared to the previous recessions. If the consumer and market sentiment improves within the next 3-6 months, the mobile data industry will continue its rapid growth. Despite a difficult environment, we expect the mobile data services revenues to grow by at least 15% YOY in 2009.
Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q408 and 2008 US wireless data market is:
Service Revenues (Slides 14 , 21, 22)
- The US Wireless data service revenues grew 7.3% Q/Q to $9.4B in Q408. Compared to Q407, the data service revenues grew 38.7%.
- AT&Tâ€™s data revenues grew the most – 12% QoQ and 52% YoY. Verizon experienced a 42% lift and T-Mobile saw a 30% increase in YoY data revenue growth. As expected, both AT&T and Verizon became two of the four operators to exceed $10B in data revenues for the year for the first time by (global) operators besides NTT DoCoMo (China Mobile is the other carrier to join the club).
- AT&T surpassed Verizon in data revenues for the first time since 2005 though for the year Verizon still ended up being ahead for the third straight year.
- AT&T and Verizon now account for 62.5% of the market data services revenues. Sprint had a third consecutive quarter of data revenue growth after falling behind its peers for the past couple of years.
- The average industry percentage contribution of data to overall ARPU reached 25%. In 2007, the percentage contribution stood at approximately 19.3%. US market is likely to exceed the 30% mark in 2009.
- T-Mobile USA edged past O2 UK to secure the 8th spot in the top 10 rankings of global mobile operators by data revenues. For the year, Verizon and AT&T improved their rankings to #3 and #4 respectively at the expense of KDDI which dropped to #5. Sprint Nextel maintained its # 6 spot. AT&T and Verizon are in the select group of four global operators who are now generating almost $3B or more in data revenues/quarter (the other two are NTT DoCoMo and China Mobile).
- Overall ARPU decreased by $0.36. Average voice ARPU declined by $1.13 while average data ARPU grew by $0.77 or 6% but couldnâ€™t negate the drop in voice ARPU.
- AT&T led in postpaid data ARPU at $16.30 (or 27.35% of the revenues) followed by Sprint at $14.50 (or 25.89%).
Subscribers (Slides 19-20)
- In 2008, the US market added almost 15M new subscriptions down 32% from 2007. Q4 also saw a decline from Q3 net-adds for the first time in recent memory.
- The number of data subscribers has been on the rise with Verizon leading the way. At the end of Q408, Verizon had 74% of its subscribers using some form of data services. The messaging volumes in the US market now average over 110B messages/month or at the frequency of a message/sub every 2 hours. In comparison users in Philippines average routinely send on an average, a message every hour.
- In terms of net-adds, AT&T led in Q408 with 2.1M net-adds, edging its friendly rival Verizon which added 1.4M net subscriptions. Sprint lost another 1.3M in Q408.
- With its Alltel acquisition, Verizon became the number one carrier in the US easily overtaking AT&T. It now has 80M subs and secured the bragging rights to being the biggest operator in the Americas.
- The 3G penetration in the US touched 40% in Q408. Verizon led the pack with over 65% 3G subscriber penetration. T-Mobile is slowly expanding its 3G coverage. The growth in 3G and smartphones is helping offset some of the downward pressure on the data revenues and overall ARPU.
Applications and Services
- Non-messaging services continue to grab 50-60% of the data revenues for the US carriers.
- The flat-rate pricing movement that was started by Willcom in Japan which moved to Europe started to take firm roots in the US market with industry wide flat-rate pricing plans that included data. All the major carriers seem to be offering flat-fee access plans for most of the new smartphones being introduced in the market. Approximately 15% of the consumers have flat-rate data plans. We will see a further acceleration of this trend aided by the recession.
- There are probably 18-20 sub-segments within mobile data services and consolidation looms. Who will be the last man standing post the nuclear winter? While the valuations are still high for rapid consolidation, we think that due to recession pressure, the M&A scene will heat up by Q309.
- Will Mobile Advertising be the rising star from the crisis or one of its victims? Clearly, there are a number of advertisers and brands that are scaling back on the experimental dollars thus shrinking the mobile ad spend. On the other hand there are some savvy brands that are pulling back from the traditional mediums like print which donâ€™t really work and putting more money into digital including mobile. Mobile offers the best ROI of all mediums but there is lot of ground work to be done before it becomes a thriving advertising channel. In fact, for the mobile media and content ecosystem, mobile advertising lends very well to the belt-tightening trends. It will be interesting to see if operators use this opportunity to lay the foundations of a long-term mobile advertising strategy or ignore it completely. Stay tuned for some of our thoughts on the subject. Incidentally, this week marks the one year anniversary of our best-selling Mobile Advertising book. Our thanks to all the readers and companies who have adopted it into their education and sales curriculums and product strategies making it a worldwide success.
- As we had mentioned back in July, Apple easily surpassed its 10M target in Q308 buoyed by its 100 country expansion plan. The broadband and appstore capabilities are quite attractive to consumers and it shows. VPN and direct access to Exchange is helping in getting many more users into the mix and making IT folks less apprehensive. The clearcut business model of 30/70 split is also attractive. While there is no dearth of applications, findability remains a challenge.
- Appleâ€™s success is inspiring carriers and OEMs to launch similar app-stores. Many operators launched an upgraded version of their existing Appstore offerings (and so did Google and RIM, even Microsoft and Nokia) along the lines of Appleâ€™s initiative with promises of greater control to the application developers. However, many of such initiatives will fall flat due to weak developer ecosystems.
- Nokia eclipsed 100M unit sale in Q408 for the seventh straight quarter. It sold over 113M handsets in the quarter, more than the next three players combined. Nokiaâ€™s global market share stood at 38.6%. Samsung surged to 52.8M in handset sales for the quarter. For the year, the industry again eclipsed the 1 billion handset mark for 2008 and had a modest growth of 3.5% but the overall handset sales are likely to decline by 10-15% in 2009 (though still exceeding 1B).
- The growth in smartphone usage is also putting pressure on the networks which are not able to handle the load during peak times in certain cities thus forcing carriers to look for alternate strategies to satisfy the demand for broadband – metered billing, UMA, Femtocells, Hotspot buys, WiMAX, LTE, and others. We deal with the whole topic of Wireless Broadband in great detail in our recently released book â€œWireless Broadband – Conflict and Convergenceâ€ (IEEE Press/John Wiley). We will have more to say on the subject in the coming days and months.
- Q4 also saw the launch of the fabled G-phone as G1 Google phone launched by T-Mobile in the US market and it is slowly making its way into Europe. While G1 is no iPhone, it introduced long-awaited features such as multiple processes, more open APIs, and others. Motorola, HTC, and others are said to be planning to launch more Android devices in 2009. The smartphone segment has clearly shaken up the market with Apple, Google, RIM, and Nokia being the main competitors. Microsoft appears to be waking up from its slumber and is rethinking its mobile strategy starting with an easy button.
Misc. (Slide 23)
- Not surprisingly, Venture money in the mobile sector experienced a rapid decline. Compared to Q407, venture financing declined by 36%, and the yearly totals are 26% lower than what they were a year ago. (Source: Rutberg)
- While WiMAX was launched with great fanfare with several key players participating in the investment pool, its long term prospects look uncertain as the delays in getting a nationwide network by a major operator in a major economy threatens the underpinnings of this nascent industry segment. To be relevant, the WiMAX fraternity needs to figure out some solutions in a hurry.
- In a sign of convergence battles to come, T-Mobileâ€™s @Home and various Femto cell initiatives started to take hold. Cable operators are also aggressively seeking triple-play by providing the wireless component of the service. Donâ€™t be surprised by some acquisitions in 2009.
Preliminary Global Update (Slides 21-22)
- China and India continued their red-hot growth throughout 2008. Combined, they added 212.8M new subscriptions with India edging China by 15% for the first time in yearly net-adds. India made mockery of the current economic climate by its unprecedented growth. In fact, for the past 5 months, India has been displaying Phelpsesque like flair (minus the pot excursion) in setting and beating its world record for 6 straight months. For the last 5 months, the market has been exceeding 10M net-adds/month with Jan 09 being at a whopping 15.4M making it a record for monthly net-adds in a given country at anytime in the history of the industry or any industry for that matter (we are still trying to figure out what led to such a jump).
- NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data revenues rankings with over $4B in data services revenue in Q408 and almost $15B for the year. Almost 42% of its overall revenue now comes from data services. DoCoMo also crossed 88% in 3G penetration in Q408 and will cross the 90% mark this week.
- Most of the major carriers around the world have double digit percentage contribution to their overall ARPU from data services. Many operators are consistently exceeding 30% with DoCoMo and Softbank being over 40%.
We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, future research reports, and articles. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in March 2009 and the next US Wireless Data Market update will be issued in May 2009.
To the 1% of you who have made it this far, thanks very much for your time and attention.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Should you need assistance in navigating or understanding the economic and competitive icebergs, please feel free to drop us a line.
Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.
Now it’s Nokia’s turn December 2, 2008Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,Carriers,Devices,Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment
to challenge its friendly rival – the iPhone with N97. The device looks pretty sharp and easy to use. it is sleek and appealing. The problem might be the price of the device – currently at almost $700 w/o subsidies. We know that $200 is the bar set by iPhone and other smartphones have been in the same range ever since. Even with subsidies, N97 will probably be in the $300-$400 range, not a mass-market price. Will it meet the fate of the Nokia Communicator or will Nokia throw in some subsidy dollars to bring the device down to the competing levels.
Also, Nokia as usual will be targeting Europe first and US probably won’t see the device until 12-18 months later, clearly a missed opportunity. They need to learn from Apple how to launch devices and capture the buzz and momentum. N97 looks like a serious challenge thus far to iPhone but other factors might thwart its success.
US Wireless Data Market Update – Q2 2008 August 10, 2008Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,M&A,Mergers and Acquisitions,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile Usability,Smart Phones,Speaking Engagements,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments
The US wireless data market grew 40% in Q208 compared to Q207 to reach $8.2B in data revenues. The total for 2008 stands at $15.7B for the first six months, 38% higher than the total for the same time period in 2007. The news of Alltel acquisition, iPhone 3G, and the flat rate pricing wars dominated the news. Though the infatuation for iPhone was a few degrees lower, Apple managed to keep the device front and center of the news cycles. US again exceeded Japan in mobile data service revenues for the quarter and the market is on track to reach $34B in data revenues for 2008.
- The US Wireless data service revenues grew 8.6% Q/Q to $8.2B in Q208. Compared to Q107, the data service revenues grew 40%.
- Overall ARPU increased by $0.46. Average voice ARPU declined by $0.05 while average data ARPU grew by $0.50 or 5%.
- Verizon lead in data ARPU with $12.58 (or 24.41% of the revenues) closely followed by Sprint at $12 (or 21.4354%), AT&T at $11.59 (or 22.91%) and T-Mobile at $8.60 (or 17%).
- The strongest growth in Q208 came from Verizon with 13% increase in data revenues from Q108. Verizon generated an industry record $2.6B in data revenues closely followed by AT&T at $2.5B. Both AT&T and Verizon are on target to exceed $10B in data revenues for the year for the first time by any operator worldwide besides NTT DoCoMo (the two US carriers are already close to 50% of the target). AT&T and Verizon now account for 62% of the market data services revenues. Sprint reversed its decline in data revenues during last quarter to increase its data revenues by 3% in Q208. T-Mobile registered a 5% uptick.
- The average industry % contribution of data to service revenues exceeded 21% and now stands at 21.41%. A year ago, the % contribution stood at approximately 17%.
- The number of data subscribers has been on the rise with Verizon leading the way. At the end of Q208, Verizon had that 49.6M (or 72%) data subscribers. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers joined to send over 169 Billion text messages in Q208 translating into almost a message every 2 hours or so. This compared to users in Philippines where average routinely surpasses a message every hour.
- In terms of net-adds, Verizon continued to lead with 1.5M net-adds again edging AT&T by 200K subscribers for the quarter.
- For the first time, T-Mobile USA entered the top 10 rankings of global mobile operators by data revenues replacing SK Telecom which suffered decline for the second straight quarter. In fact, SKT got pushed to the 12th spot by Orange France. The top three US carriers again maintained their respective rankings amongst the top 10 global carriers in terms of data revenues. For the quarter, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint Nextel stood at #4, 5, and 6 respectively with Verizon and AT&T closing in on China Mobile (2nd) and KDDI (3rd). AT&T and Verizon are in the select group of five global operators who are now generating $2B or more in data revenues/quarter (the other three are NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile, and KDDI).
- Non-messaging continues to grab 50-60% of the data revenues for the US carriers.
- The flat-rate pricing movement that was started by Willcom in Japan which moved to Europe started to enter the US market with industry wide flat-rate pricing plans that included data. Sprint has been the most aggressive with its â€œSimply Everythingâ€ plans that include data services. 30% of its $100 plan is assigned to data revenues (for accounting purposes).
- Q208 saw the blockbuster acquisition of Alltel by Verizon which is likely to close by end of the year. The $28B acquisition will catapult Verizon ahead of AT&T in total number of subscribers by a big margin (10M or so) and make it a leader in almost all major categories.
- There continues to be tremendous activity in the area of Mobile Advertising. AdInfuse, Admob, Amobee, Millennial Media, Nokia, Rhythm New Media, Yahoo, and others ran compelling campaigns. There was also meaningful activity on the carrier front with industry wide initiatives.
- Venture money experienced a decline into the mobile sector. During the first half of the year, private wireless companies announced $1.8B in 173 financings, compared to $2.7B in 209 financings for the same time period last year. (Source: Rutberg)
- Nokia eclipsed 100M unit sale in Q208 for the fifth straight quarter. It sold over 122M handsets in Q208 (out of the total 297M), almost as many as the next four combined. Nokiaâ€™s global market share edged past 41%. Samsung at 15%, Motorola with 9.5%, LG with 9.3% and Sony Ericsson with 8% rounded out the top five. For the year, the industry looks to again eclipse the 1 billion handset mark for 2008
- 3G penetration in the US went past 30% in Q208, with Verizon leading the pack with over 60% 3G subscriber penetration compared to 25% 3G subscriber penetration at AT&T. T-Mobile is slowly expanding its 3G coverage. 3G subs have over $23 in data ARPU. These trends are expected and the diffusion of mobile broadband will continue to create new opportunities and revenues for the ecosystem.
- Apple announced a 3G iPhone in June and launched an aggressive expansion plan to reach 70+ countries. The broadband and appstore capabilities are quite attractive to consumers and it shows. VPN and direct access to Exchange will get many more users into the mix and IT folks less apprehensive. The clearcut business model of 30/70 split is also attractive. Apple is likely to announce in Sept (may wait for its quarterly results in Oct) that it has reached the 10M goal for iPhone.
- Feeling the threat from Apple and Google, Nokia bought the remaining portion of Symbian and announced the plan to open-source the OS, making things interesting in the wireless ecosystem. It puts Microsoft on the defensive and will be forced to reduce its licensing fee per device closer to zero. While Apple basked in the glow of iPhone 2.0, Google spent time swatting rumors of Android delay. Giving the changing dynamics in the industry, Google might be forced to play its gPhone hand earlier than it had anticipated.
- After raising $14.5B from friends and family, Clearwireâ€™s net-adds dropped in Q208. It needs to get its content and handset strategy in place in short-order.
- In a sign of convergence battles to come, T-Mobileâ€™s @Home and Sprintâ€™s Femto cell initiatives started to take hold. Cable operators are also aggressively seeking triple-play by providing the wireless component of the service.
- China and India added approximately 52M subscriptions combined in Q208 with China marginally edging out India. For the year, both countries have added almost identical number of subscriptions (53M). By comparison, US added 7.5M for the same time period.
- NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data revenues rankings with almost $3.4B in data services revenue in Q208. Almost 40% of its revenue now comes from data services. DoCoMo also crossed 84% in 3G penetration in Q208 and is expected to cross 90% by early 2009.
- 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 consistently topping 30%.
More details in our worldwide wireless data market update in our Global Wireless Data Market Update Sept 2008.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.
CTIA Wireless 2008 Roundup April 4, 2008Posted by chetan in : 3G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Intellectual Property,International Trade,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,M&A,Mergers and Acquisitions,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,MVNO,Smart Phones,Speaking Engagements,Speech Recognition,US Wireless Market,Wi-Fi,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments
CTIA Wireless 2008 Roundup
The Sin City hosted CTIA Wireless 2008 earlier this week. On Wednesday morning, just before leaving for the convention center, I caught some portion of Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony on the US economy woes. Few minutes later, strolling the show floor, talking to various companies, and hearing the keynotes, it seemed like I was on a different planet. Either someone failed to deliver the memo or the wireless industry is resilient enough to weather the turmoil in the financial and housing markets with some ease. The show was bigger with more attendees, the booths were returning to their glamorous heydays of the past, and the general buzz and energy at the show all seem to indicate the industry is going to do just fine and is primed for further growth. The general themes were around open network and access, user experience, and bandwidth.
This note summarizes our impressions from the show.
First let’s do the numbers: CTIA released their semi-annual statistics on the US market. In summary: For 2007, $23B in data revenues, 2 trillion in MOU, $139B in total service revenues, 48B txt messages/month. (We released our US Market and Global Market updates last month)
Keynotes: In terms of style, Sir Richard Branson stole the show with his pompous exuberance and pep talk (the talk of imaginary flight to Mars was hilarious; investors in Microgin and Viroo must be upset). For substance, Marco Boerries, President, Yahoo Mobile gave a nice compact overview of Yahoo initiatives and products in the market which are pretty darn good. (Marco wrote an opinion piece for our Mobile Advertising Book – “The future of Advertising is in the Consumers’ Pockets”). Yahoo has sewn together a number of deals worldwide that gives them a potential reach of over 600M users.
Vodafone is one operator which has been quite vocal in stating its positions on future infrastructure roadmap and data opportunities. Arun Sarin is probably the only CEO of major global operator who has publicly stated that Mobile Advertising will constitute a significant portion of their revenues in the coming days (Arun’s point person on the initiative Richard Saggers also wrote an opinion piece for our book “Opportunities for Mobile Advertising.” Let me know if you are interested in reading these two opinion pieces).
Microsoft’s Robbie Bach had the tough task of following the Branson-fest. He announced the arrival of a full-blown browser (finally!) for windows mobile. Also, the new windows mobile device from Sony Ericsson (Xperia) looks pretty darn cool. FCC Chairman Martin announced the rejection of Skype petition on the carterphone principle (to Skype’s dismay, it was not an April fool’s joke). Clearly, the definition of “open” is in the eye of the beholder. It means different things to different people. It has also been clear from the various activities and keynotes that the industry is trying its utmost to remain a “Self-regulated” industry and stay away from the clutches of eager politicians.
Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless conducted a panel with CEOs from Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Nortel and probed them on the 4G migration path, trends in applications and services, and contrasts in adoption and introduction of new technology in various parts of the world. Final day was marked by what is now becoming a trend – keynotes from politicians. This time around Sen. Edwards and Sen. Thompson graced the podium.
Mobile Advertising: In talking with numerous players in the value chain from small developers to large operators to ad networks to media companies, the impression was that things have matured over the last six months. It was gratifying to hear that some companies are adopting strategies and recommendations we propose in our book. Still, some of the basic problems remain – majority of the inventory remain unsold indicating weak demand, CPM rates are still over-rated though they are starting to come down, and fragmentation continues to remain an issue.
The good news is that the size of the mobile campaign budgets are getting bigger with several seven figure RFPs floating around. While some companies are still trying to throw a lot at the wall in the hope that something sticks, others are maturing as companies and are more focused in their positioning and product roadmaps. Integration of various channels is starting to appear on the horizon and the integration with the publishers is becoming tighter. The issue of measurement and auditing standards remains a big issue and unfortunately not much progress to report. There are carrier initiatives and various industry bodies are taking the challenge to rally the ecosystem, but, frankly, consolidation of such efforts is necessary, we can’t afford yet another layer of fragmentation in an already complex ecosystem.
We were interviewed on Mobile Advertising prior to the show by several publications. Some of the articles were published this week to coincide with CTIA
Wireless Wave (CTIA) – Moving Targets: Mobile marketing reaches consumers on their terms by Lynn Thorne
BrandWeek – Mobile Marketing – Fantasy vs. Reality by Ken Hein
Wall Street Journal – Personalized promotions: Sending the right ads to your phone – Peggy Anne Salz
NFC: There were many more NFC-enabled devices on display this time and vendors were talking and demoing NFC and Biometrics based payment solutions. While there are handsets on the roadmap, this market is still very nascent in North America and Western Europe.
Inspiration: The inspiration for new and creative services still comes (at least for yours truly) from Japan (and Korea). I love spending time in DoCoMo’s booth for it gives a glimpse into what’s to come. No other company better understands the development of devices, services and applications that overlay on lifestyles than DoCoMo (e.g. a wellness handset that is a pedometer, heart rate monitor, body and bad breath monitor and yes, you can make voice calls too). They view wireless air-interfaces as nothing more than enablers to solutions that enhance daily lives. Various device manufacturers also displayed some really cool devices. The quality and diversity of handsets that have been introduced into the global markets over the last four quarters is just astonishing. The cycle of innovation and time-to-market keeps on accelerating.
Femto Cells: A number of players like Airwalk, Airvana, and others are bringing Femto cell solutions to the market and carriers are starting to pull this into their strategy as well and look forward to deployments beyond the trials.
4G: LTE vs. WiMAX (vs. UMB): Since the decision of Vodafone and Verizon to support LTE, UMB has been disappearing from the discussion. The 4G discussion is convulsing around LTE and WiMAX now (though Nortel did indicate its support TD-SCDMA as a 4G candidate). Without a doubt the operator community is rallying behind LTE and there might be an opportunity to finally converge to a single standard (haven’t we seen this movie before) but frankly, the advances in silicon to integrate multiple radios has made the standards debate less relevant. WiMAX has forced acceleration of LTE standardization process but is starting to lose its time (and cost) advantage. All eyes are on Sprint’s XOHM business rollouts in the coming days and months.
Accessories: I have never seen so many accessory and reseller outfits at a CTIA show. Business must be booming.
Best Booth: Thought there were several good layouts, LG and Samsung continue to impress with their creativity and “art of marketing.”
Developer and Publisher woes: Along with John Philips (Astraware) and Peter Baldwin (Cellmania), I helped facilitate a few developer session at the Mobile Jam Session organized by WIP. The issues of distribution, discovery, and monetization remain challenging for the small developers worldwide. Even with million user base, they are finding it difficult to monetize but we did discuss a number of success stories. The core elements of success that emerged from the discussion were: choosing the right market, embedding viral component into everything you throw out there, there is no room for mediocrity, and personalizing and customizing go a long way to get traction. An interesting tidbit: the number of page views for mobile MySpace app is a magnitude higher on off-deck vs. ondeck. Several of the companies are trying mobile advertising with varying degrees of success. After spending 4 hours with the developers, I sat on a carrier panel discussing mobile advertising. The contrast between the two worlds was so apparent. Clearly, more needs to be done to help both sides understand each other a bit better.
Green CTIA: There is a stronger emphasis on recycling and contributing to save the environment. The show itself is a big resource hog, so every bit helps.
Alternate Mobile Devices: The universe of alternate devices is expanding. Companies are buying wholesale data packages from the operators and integrating broadband chipsets into hardware to do digital signage (ICG), M2M (Sensorlogic), PND and much more. The definition of being “mobile” keeps on changing.
On Being “Open”: Obviously, given the recent activity around openness, getting a penny for each time the word was uttered by a speaker would have paid off for a lifetime of CTIA trips. While talk is cheap, demonstrable progress is being made by the likes Yahoo, Apple (btw, 3G iPhone is on its way), and AOL.
Another MVNO experiences turmoil: Movida – a Spanish focused MVNO which has garnered almost 300K subs filed for chapter 11.
Voice is becoming mainstream: With the product launches from Nuance, SpinVox, Vlingo, Jott, Yahoo, and many others, voice based navigation and its tighter integration with data services is becoming mainstream.
Where are the opportunities? Last week, I was moderating a panel with executives from AOL Mobile, T-Mobile, Motricity, and Formotus and the themes that emerged were around platform play, user experience, and productivity. At CTIA, in addition to these areas, there was a lot of discussion around social networking (though the market is being saturated with the MoSo noise). It is also clear that we are moving into the phase of “aggregation of fragmentation” with initiatives from Yahoo, AOL, and Google dominating the landscape.
Home Screen Effect: I have been talking about using the home screen for driving data usage for the last 8 years. I think we will see good innovation this year on that front starting with Yahoo’s One Platform. There are several other initiatives in the works where operators and OEMs will be deploying frameworks and technologies to bring information to a “click-less” idle screen environment.
Overall, no major news but industry stays vibrant, healthy, and exciting.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Disclosure: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.
Global Wireless Data Market Update 2007 March 27, 2008Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,European Wireless Market,India,Indian Wireless Market,Infrastructure,Intellectual Property,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,M&A,Mergers and Acquisitions,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,Mobile Users,MVNO,Networks,Partnership,Speaking Engagements,Speech Recognition,US Wireless Market,Wi-Fi,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 8 comments
Global Wireless Data Market Update 2007
As you read this End of Year (EOY) 2007 Global Wireless Data Market update this week, somewhere in India, a new subscription will catapult India over the US as the number 2 global wireless market. 2007 was a banner year for global wireless data market. The global service revenues for the year touched $700 billion, the data service revenues were more than $120 billion, China signed its 500 millionth subscription, and both India (in feb 08) and the US crossed the 250 million subscription mark. 2007 continued to enhance mobile data’s role in the operator ecosystem with approx 17% of the revenue is coming from data services.
For some leading operators, data is now contributing up to 35% of the revenues however increase in data ARPU is not completely offsetting the drop in voice ARPU. From the true and tested SMS messaging to new services such as Mobile TV, Enterprise apps, and others, different services helped in adding billions to the revenues generated for 2007. Japan and Korea remain the envy of the global markets and the countries to study and learn from w.r.t. new services and applications. The US market has been steadily making strong comeback and for the first time exceeded Japan in service revenue generated from mobile data.
Chetan Sharma Consulting conducted its semiannual study on the global mobile data industry. We studied wireless data trends in over 40 major countries – from developed and mature markets such as Japan, Korea, UK, and Italy to hyper growth markets such as China and India. This note summarizes the findings from the research.
- The worldwide markets continue to grow at an explosive pace reaching 3.3B subscriptions by Q407 up 20% from 2006 levels. Significant growth is coming from India and China with both countries registering close to 8-9M net adds per month. India recorded 8.8M net adds in Jan 08 while China added 9.4M in Feb 08. Overall, the world market is at almost 50% penetration.
- US surpassed Japan as the most valuable mobile data market in service revenue with US adding $24.5B vs. $23.2B for Japan in 2007 mobile data service revenues. China with $12.5B was ranked number 3. US registered the highest growth amongst the top 3 with over 55% increase from 2006 levels followed by China at 37% and Japan at 18%. These top 3 markets account for over 50% of the global data service revenues.
- NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data service revenues rankings with over $12.13B in service data revenues for 2007 however Q/Q growth has dropped to single digits. DoCoMo crossed 80% in 3G penetration and is expected to touch 90% by end of the year.
- DoCoMo was followed by China Mobile, KDDI, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, O2 UK, SK Telecom, Softbank, and China Unicom to round up the top 10 operators by wireless data service revenues. All the top 10 carriers exceeded $3B in data revenues for the year.
- Most of the major operators around the world have double digit percentage contribution to their overall ARPU from data services. Operators like KDDI, DoCoMo, 3 Italy, 3 UK, and O2 UK are topping 30%.
- Both India and China added a whopping 85 million new subscriptions (most of them prepaid). This week India edges past US to become the number 2 wireless market (by subscriptions) in the world. In last two years alone it added almost 150 million new subscriptions (in comparison China added 155 million and the US market added 44 million).
- Vodafone Italy reported the highest increase in data ARPU from 4Q06 with 76% growth. Other notable percentage increases in ARPU were from Rogers, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile Austria. The biggest drop in percentage terms were registered by the Indian operators with average data ARPU dropping to $0.70.
- In terms of absolute dollar amount, 3 UK leads the pack with $29 data ARPU (qualifying limit: 4 million subs). By comparison, the rest of the top 4 operators are below $22. In fact, 3 UK reported the highest ARPU recorded for the year at approximately $94 (in Q2). Other operators who reported overall ARPU above $60 were KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Rogers, and 3 Sweden.
- The biggest jump in data revenues was experienced by Verizon Wireless with over 68% increase from 2006 followed by AT&T with 63% jump and O2 UK making 49% gain.
- In 2007, SMS’s vice like grip on data revenues continued to loosen a bit with many carriers seeing an increase in non-SMS data revenues. On an average, Japan and Korea have over 70-75% of their revenue coming from non-SMS data applications, US around 50-60%, and Western Europe around 20-40%.
- The top 10 operators increased their revenue by 32% during 2007 (from 2006) to reach almost $62 billion in data service revenues, thus accounting for almost half of the global data service revenues though they account for only 27% of the global subscription base.
- NTT DoCoMo’s position at the top of the wireless data world has been challenged recently by several carriers esp. by its archrival KDDI. Their data coordinates stand at ($21.5, 35%) and ($21, 34%) respectively (please see PowerPoint for reference). Since the takeover from Vodafone, Softbank has been making significant strides in the market by taking the highest share of the net-adds in last 9 months.
- The biggest percentage contribution by data ARPU has been consistently registered (since mid 2002) by two Philippines carriers – Smart Communications and Globe Telecom with almost 55% (or $4) contribution coming from data services.
- Even though China reported approximately $12.5B in data revenues for 2007 and the percentage contribution is over 23%, data ARPU is around $2.3. For India data ARPU dropped below $1 for all major carriers.
- China Mobile with 369M (as of Dec 07, the numbers increased to 384M by Feb 08) remains the #1 carrier in terms of total number of subscribers followed by Vodafone at 252M and China Unicom with 160M subscriptions. Telefonica, América Móvil, SingTel, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), and Orange (France Telecom) are the next five largest telecom groups in the world. In terms of individual carriers in a given country, AT&T and Verizon Wireless occupy the #3 and #4 spot respectively ahead of NTT DoCoMo, which is at #5. The two Chinese carriers round up the top two positions and are likely to stay perched at their lookout vistas for many years to come. China Mobile also surpassed Vodafone in market cap which stands at $288B (vs. $164B for Vodafone). Telecom groups in mature markets are under enormous pressure to either come up with a global expansion strategy or accelerate their existing plans. Carriers in Japan and Korea are the most under duress.
- As far as 3G is concerned, GSA reported 293 WCDMA commercial launches worldwide with over 270M 3G users (66% of them are WCDMA users vs. EV-DO). Both Japan and Korea continue to expand their 3G base with both reporting over 75-80% penetration. 3G has picked-up steam in both western Europe and North America per our forecast in the 2005 cover story article “3G: Hitting the Mass Market” published in the Wireless World Magazine. Western Europe and US are approximately at 25% 3G penetration (Italy being the exception reaching 40%).
- China and India represent the biggest opportunities for Infrastructure providers. China has postponed its 3G decision for the umpteenth time and has been having technical and political problems to get something in place before the 2008 Olympics. India is going through its 3G spectrum policy but unlike China is likely to resolve the issues in short order. Some of the biggest infrastructure contracts will come from these two countries that are looking to expand coverage into rural areas. In India, regulators are considering inviting bids for the 3G spectrum from foreign entities as well.
- Carriers with nationwide 3G networks and good distribution of handsets are seeing uptick in data ARPU. The Japanese and Korean carriers along with operator 3, Verizon, Sprint Nextel are all seeing benefits of rolling out their 3G service. Deployment of 3.5G technologies such as HSDPA and EV-DO Rev A (and B) are also gaining momentum. Networks are getting deployed and market is being seeded with some of the early handsets. In terms of 4G, there is a strong momentum behind LTE, UMB in its current incarnation is practically dead, and proponents of WiMAX are pushing the technology as a 4G candidate, though it is starting to lose its time advantage.
- In terms of applications, messaging accounts for lion-share of data revenues. However, other services such as Mobile Music, Mobile TV and video streaming, Voice navigation, PNDs, Mobile Games, IMS, LBS, Mobile advertising, and others have captured industry’s imagination. Though not much talked about, enterprise applications are also being adopted widely esp. in North America as more workers become mobile and corporations seek efficiencies in their operations and supply-chain.
- 2007 also saw the demise of some high-profile MVNOs like Amp’D. Helio continues to struggle while the newer ones like Sonopia and Blyk are testing the treacherous waters with different business models. Asian market is also opening up for MVNOs.
- Nokia eclipsed 100M/quarter unit sale three times in 2007. It sold over 437M handsets in 2007, more than the next three handset manufacturers combined. Nokia’s global market share stood at 40.2%.
- While the talk of “Open Access” and “Open Platform” consumed much of North America, it barely registered a decibel elsewhere. Several significant events including 700 MHz Auction, Android, and Verizon’s “Open Network” initiative elevated the consternation in the ecosystem.
- Several operators reported Mobile Advertising as their key strategic focus for the coming quarters, esp. China Mobile and Vodafone. Sensing the opportunity to seek new sources of revenue stream, Nokia launched its ad service as well. 2007 saw tremendous M&A activity in both the online and mobile advertising space. In a matter of weeks, several billion dollar transactions took place highlighting the intensity in preparing for the next battleground. The estimated market for mobile advertising in 2007 was approximately $2.3B with messaging, search, and browsing accounting for over 84% of the revenues.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Disclosure: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.
US Wireless Market Update – 4Q07 and 2007 March 10, 2008Posted by chetan in : 3G,AORTA,BRIC,Carriers,Devices,European Wireless Market,India,Indian Wireless Market,Intellectual Property,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,M&A,Mergers and Acquisitions,Microsoft Mobile,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,MVNO,Smart Phones,Strategy,US Wireless Market,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments
US Wireless Market Update – 4Q07 and 2007
The US wireless data market grew 55% in 2007 ending the year with $24.5 billion in data services revenues with 4Q yielding $6.9B. 2007 also saw significant industry milestones like: iPhone launch, US crossing 250 million subscriptions, 3G penetration in the US touching 25% subscriber base, consternation around 700 MHz spectrum auction, MediaFLO launch, Android launch, Nokia crossing 40% market share, WiMAX and Femto Cell trials, and much more. US almost equaled Japan in mobile data service revenues for the year (rounding error and currency fluctuation difference). With several significant launches coming up in 2008, US remains one of the most attractive wireless data markets.
- The US Wireless data service revenues grew 7.8% Q/Q to $6.9B in Q407. For the year 2007, the US wireless data service revenues grew to $24.5B, up 55% from 2006.
- Overall ARPU declined by $0.81and reversed the trend of overall ARPU uptick of the last two quarters. Average voice ARPU declined by almost $1.50 while average data ARPU inched up by $0.68 or 7%.
- Sprint lead in data ARPU with $11.50 (or 19.83% of the revenues) closely followed by Verizon at $11.06. Verizon was ahead in terms of data as % ARPU with 21.3% of its ARPU coming from data services. AT&T with $10 (or 19.89%) and T-Mobile with $8.2 (or 16%) rounded up the top 4.
- The strongest growth in 2007 came from Verizon and AT&T, with both of them tied at 64% YOY jump in data revenues. However, Verizon was ahead in dollar terms at $7.4B, accounting for almost 31% of the US industry data services revenue for the year. The top two were followed by T-Mobile at 56% and Sprint with 31% increase YOY.
- The average industry % contribution of data to service revenues jumped to 19.34%.
- In terms of net-adds, thanks to the Dobson acquisition and the iPhone sales, AT&T added 2.7M new subscribers followed by Verizon at 2M. The overall net-adds improved by 6.2M subs taking the total for the year to 20.8M, down slightly from 2006. Despite the 7% slowdown, there is plenty of growth left in the US wireless market.
- In spite of AT&T’s prolific quarter, Verizon ended up with the highest net-adds for the year at 7.7M subs vs. AT&T’s 6.9M.
- 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 $7.4B, AT&T with $6.9B, and Sprint with $5.2B in data services revenues stood at #4, 5, and 6 respectively with Verizon closing in on KDDI for the number 3 spot. AT&T became the second US operator after Verizon to be in the select group of five global operators who are now generating $2B or more in data revenues/quarter (the other three are NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile, and KDDI).
- 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 and strategic roadmap in hopes to dominate the space and while it succeeded in pushing FCC to change the 700 MHz auction rules, the future of Android alliance remains uncertain. It did however; help open the “open” debate in the industry. Meanwhile, Yahoo is busy creating some compelling applications and is stitching together carrier deals around the world.
- Venture money continued to flow into the mobile sector with over $4.9B investment in 2007 (Source: Rutberg). Location Services, Mobile Personalization, Mobile Video, Mobile Search and Advertising, Semiconductor, Carrier infrastructure, Device design and development are hot areas.
- iPhone helped AT&T find its voice. Since the introduction of iPhone in June 07, AT&T has reversed the multi-quarter trend of narrowing total subscriber difference with Verizon. Aided by the Dobson acquisition, the difference between the two companies stood at 4.4M subscribers in favor of AT&T (vs. 1.5M in Q107). iPhone also accounted for (higher) disproportionate mobile web usage exciting the ecosystem and media alike.
- Nokia eclipsed 100M unit sale in Q407 for the third straight quarter. It sold over 437M handsets in 2007, more than the next three handset manufacturers combined. Nokia’s global market share stood at 40.2%. Quite impressive.
- 3G penetration in the US touched 25% in 2007, with Verizon leading the pack with over 53% 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.
- There was tremendous discussion around “openness.” Bowing to the industry pressure, FCC’s 700 MHz spectrum auction included clauses for opening up the network by the winner. Sprint made progress with its upcoming launch of XOHM. Verizon launched its Open initiative. Google’s Android was announced in Q407. Though devices are slated to hit the market in 08, its overall impact remains uncertain.
- China and India added approximately 86M subscribers in 2007 dwarfing growth in other regions by a distance (China marginally edged out India to retain the top honors). Similar growth trends will continue into 2008. In fact, India will overtake US as the number two wireless market in the world (by total subscriptions) during the week of March 24th 2008.
- NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data revenues rankings with over $12B in data services revenue in 2007. 35% of its revenue now comes from data services. DoCoMo will also cross 80% in 3G penetration this month. China Unicom edged past SK Telecom to occupy the number 9 spot.
- 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 consistently topping 30%.
More details in our worldwide wireless data market update coming out later this month.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Nokia crosses 40% market share January 24, 2008Posted by chetan in : Devices,Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment
Nokia blew the 4Q by shipping over 133M handsets. Stunning.
Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit January 15, 2008Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,Middleware,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Privacy,Speaking Engagements,Strategy,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far
Looking forward to meeting new friends and colleagues at the upcoming PNWS conference in beautiful Vancouver, BC this Thursday.There are some really great speakers and panelists. I have the privilege to present, participate, and moderate in two of the panels.
Mobile Marketing and Advertising
I will be sharing some research from our upcoming book on Mobile Advertising and then participate in a panel discussion with Alfredo Tan, Yahoo! Mobile, Matt Snyder, ADO Strategies (formerly with Nokia), and Olivier Vincent, Canpages. The panel is moderated by Michael Bidu of WINBC.
Understand Mobile Asia
I will be moderating this panel consisting of Asokan Thiyagarajan, Motorola, David Dai, CellOn China, and Karl Weaver, Newport Technologies.
If you would like to see any specific questions answered, please let me know. I will do a conference report later this weekend.
Apart from these panels, there are other panels on Mobile Commerce, Mobile Entertainment and Social Networking, Mobile Trends, Insights, Undeserved Vertical Markets, Mobile Enterprise, Disruptive Technologies, Smart DNAs, Wireless Innovation and Accelerated Commercialization, Go-to-market strategy. CEOs and executives from prominent companies in the region are going to be there. There are keynotes throughout the day including Luni from Medio, Fred Ghahramani, AirG, and Sue Abu-Hakima, Amika Mobile.
Caroline Lewko of WIP and WINBC fame also be moderating a couple of sessions.
There will be discussion about 2010 Olympics as well.
All in all a very packed day from 8am to 9pm and then a mixer that will probably go till midnight.
Hope to see some of you there.
CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2007 Roundup October 28, 2007Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Infrastructure,Intellectual Property,Mergers and Acquisitions,Messaging,Microsoft Mobile,Middleware,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,MVNO,Partnership,Privacy,Smart Phones,Strategy,US Wireless Market,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 5 comments
The early morning full moon over the San Francisco bay was much more inspiring than any gizmos or gimmicks at the annual CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment show. Maybe it is the conference fatigue setting in but the scaled back event failed to gather steam and one had to rely on alternate sources to get a sense of where things are headed in the next 6-12 months. This note summarizes the observations and commentary from the show.
First let’s do the numbers. CTIA released its mid-year data survey for the year. In summary, as of June 2007 – 243M subs, $67.9B in revenues (first 6 months), $10.5B in data revenues for the year accounting for 15.5% of the total service revenue, MOU exceeded 1 Trillion minutes, 1B TXT messages daily. These numbers were in line with the numbers we reported back in Aug.
Keynotes – The central theme that tied the three keynotes was “Be Open, Do Good Work, and Rest will take care of itself.” The keynotes from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook, and Atish Gude, Sprint Nextel emphasized the need to have an “open platform” for innovation, applications, and services. Haven’t we been down this lane before?
Steve started by taking a page out of our (upcoming) book, literally (page 243 to be exact) and describing a vision where mobile device becomes the remote control of your life for both workstyle and lifestyle. Too often we focus on separating out personal vs. professional but our lives are so intertwined that one minute you are setting up a doctor’s appointment and the next minute closing a sale. Companies that focus on managing the experience start to finish (waking to sleeping) independent of everything else will be the ones that dominate these turf wars. Microsoft’s big announcement was the release of device management server that includes mobile devices in addition to the desktop world (but it is limited to windows mobile devices only, Open?). Microsoft has been making impressive strides in occupying its place in the mobile ecosystem. Though windows mobile and battery life don’t go together, the fact that they are deployed with 160 operators in 55 countries, shipping 20M devices/year places them at a significant advantage in the coming days.
Facebook’s Moskovitz made the plea for openness of networks, devices, and applications to enable the social networking phenomenon on mobile. The fact that Microsoft and Facebook were doing the keynotes on the eve of strategic investment wasn’t a coincidence. Dustin brought out the elderly statesman Mike Lazaridis to announce the facebook app for Blackberry smartphones. The interesting thing was how the app was introduced – Facebook chose RIM and RIM chose T-Mobile for this app. Device manufacturers are surely getting bolder. Facebook extended its platform to mobile. Getting social networking apps on mobile is a no-brainer. In fact, the coming enhancements with Presence, IMS, Broadband, Profiling, Location, can make mobile social network a society of its own.
I thought the most forceful case for “openness” was delivered by Atish Gude, SVP of the XOHM (WiMAX) initiative at Sprint Nextel. In fact, it was exactly along the lines of our recommendations for the operators in our book. Atish talked about openness across network, devices, content, and applications to deliver a great “customer experience.” Operators focus on delivering the intelligent network by focusing on QoS, Network elements like Presence and Location, Security, and Consistency of throughput and performance and leave the innovation in applications and services on the ecosystem who know how best to exploit the medium. His definition of “device” expanded beyond the mobile phone into consumer electronics and appliances which is a smart way of looking at things. However, vision is one thing and execution is another. Will Sprint be able to deliver on this vision in a timely fashion amidst quarterly Wall Street pressure is going to define the industry more than any of the hoopla of 700MHz.
Enterprise MIA – One of the personalities was clearly missing from the show. Yes, there was an enterprise pavilion but nothing new and different surfaced. Microsoft’s late foray into the device management space was the only worthwhile news that emerged.
LBS – The LBS industry proudly presented its posterchilds TeleAtlas, Navteq, TeleNav, and others. Their imposing presence on the show floor and in some of the sessions was palpable. I have been working in or following this space since 1995 and it finally feels that there is going to be some activity in this space after years of posturing, delays, and hype. However, the true value of “location” can’t be unlocked unless it truly becomes “open” for the application and service developers. The delivery of coordinates for every request is not cheap so some form of business model or technical break through is needed to make the use pervasive. Some of the newer players displaying their wares were Telmap, locr, and earthcomber.
Mobile Advertising – It is great to see the progress over the last 12 months. The distribution, inventory, and ad networks are all improving and size of the campaigns are starting to reach six figures on average. Some of the working demos I saw were really compelling and some unique solutions are going to be introduced in the market in the next six months. Though the space is still nascent, some trends have started to emerge – companies who are focused on solving the problem end-to-end from strategy to execution to understanding the results are separating themselves from the plethora of technology providers in the space. There is tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in the metrics and auditing space in addition to the integration of silos.
WiMAX picks up steam On the heels of WiMAX being declared as part of the IMT-2000 family, WiMAX is slated to gather momentum though a lot still depends on carriers like Sprint to deploy nationwide networks and device manufacturers like Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung to bring cheap devices to the market. Nevertheless, Cisco’s acquisition of Navini, Beceem’s deal with NEC and others are signs of positive movement in this sector.
Mobile Video a dying market? Already? Only a couple of CTIAs ago, Mobile video took the event by storm only to find defending itself as a viable business in a short span of time. The video quality has improved significantly but the business models have not.
Entering the US market – US remains one of the most attractive market for mobile data but very few overseas firm succeed. One of the big European brands “Zed” is making an aggressive and impressive push into the US market and is expecting up to 30% (or $150M) of its revenues coming from the US market in the next 12 months. They have developed a good platform for interactive games that tie the experience across mobile and online really well. EA and the likes should take notice.
Open – not in my backyard The keynotes were in sharp contrast with some of the carrier panels. One of them seemed to be the replay of a session I attended in 2001 or was it 1997. Eerie.
Presence, IMS – The discussion around presence and IMS is intensifying. Demos are getting better and the coordination between carriers to standardize and interoperate is improving but we still have a long way to go.
Coolest gadget – NeuroSky filled the void of a gadget less show by showcasing its mind-over-matter technology. Using brainwaves which are detected by a sensor attached to your head, it allows the user to move, push, and float objects by just concentrating on them. Remember The Matrix. Now, if you throw in Philip’s amBX and Microvision’s PicoP, your cell phone becomes this gaming platform that takes the die-hards to the transcendental state of nirvana.
iPhone continues to dominate the talk – iPhone continues to set the tone of discussion in the industry. Since July, there has hardly been a mobile conference worth its salt that hasn’t had a session on “impact of iPhone.” There hasn’t been a mobile device like this one and it shows. Attendees proudly fiddled with their iPhones in public and were eager to discuss their experience and forecasts.
US vs. Europe – There was quite a bit of us vs. them discussion. CTIA’s Wireless Wave magazine started the discussion by its cover story article “The Continental Divide” (for which we were interviewed). It was soon covered by the likes of WSJ (Walt Mossberg – Free My Phone), GigaOM (How far behind is the US vs. Europe?), Steve Largent (Largent to Mossberg .. Wish you were here in San Francisco), and others. As I say in the article – the picture is more complicated .. and one needs to take a holistic view. This topic is crying for a detailed study.
MCommerce – Behind closed doors there is a lot of discussion on MCommerce and how to enable phone to become the wallet of choice (this will be music to the ears to my colleagues in Japan and Korea). Some new and interesting models are starting to appear. One is from Mobilians, a company that has had good success in South Korea and is now setting its sight on the US market. Their focus is to use the phone to enable payment of online and offline goods. In Korea, Mobilians is registering 7M transactions/ month and over $1B in goods sold/year with up to $250 items (which appear on the carrier bill). This is a totally untapped space for the carrier and is a threat to the credit card companies especially for the low cost items where the 2%+20-25c fee drives up the effective rate for the merchant. A tier-1 carrier is also looking to firm up its mCommerce strategy in the next few weeks. It should be noted that some of the smaller regional carriers who survive due to laser focus customer service are testing and rolling out innovative solutions ahead of their bigger peers. For e.g. CellularSouth launched picture application (with Ontela) and after their successful trials with NFC based payments is looking into launching WirelessWallet. Similarly, some others are in the process of getting some LBS, Mobile Search, and Mobile Advertising solutions in the next quarter or so.
· AOL Mobile re-launched its mobile suite of products. It has a good suite of assets and the company is starting to integrate and enhance the user experience.
· More M&A activities are expected in the mobile advertising space in the next 6-12 months as startups use every advantage to maximize the returns before the big boys catch-up.
· There was hardly any mention of the gPhone or the zPhone.
· Verizon and Sprint are boosting the holiday season lineups to counter the onslaught of iPhone with similar looking phones.
· Becker – a 60 year old company which launched the first ever car radio showed off its “Traffic Assist” unit which had a good user interface and free real-time traffic info for life.
· Talkster talked about its free global calls in exchange of listening to ads.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Chetan Sharma3G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,Devices,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Intellectual Property,International Trade,Japan Wireless Market,Mergers and Acquisitions,Messaging,Microsoft Mobile,Middleware,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,MVNO,Strategy,Unified Messaging,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment
Unified Mobile Data Platform An Analytics based approach
Sponsored by InfoSpace Mobile
2006 was a banner year for mobile data. Revenues from mobile data increased for all major carriers across all major regions around the world with data contributing 10-30% to overall revenues. In Q1 2007, US carriers recorded over $5B in data revenues with mobile data contributing to over 16% of the more than $32B in carrier service revenues. In fact, the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) from data jumped 43% from last year. It has been a long journey though. Driven initially by SMS messaging, the market embraced ringtones, graphics, music, and gaming, each creating multi-billion dollar markets. As we look into the next five years, not only are new content applications such as broadcast video, idle screen, user-generated-content, community, and mobile search being introduced, but the functionality available with these applications, such as the sharing and tagging of data, is also increasing the demand on the mobile entertainment platform to be adaptive to the growing needs of the market. To stay competitive in this rapidly evolving and challenging market place, service providers must move from silo’d point solutions to integrated unified platforms to maximize their returns from the declining services and better prepare for the technical and business challenges in front of them. The vast potential of mobile data services in general and mobile search and advertising specifically can’t be realized without a retooling of the fundamental approach to deploying services, engaging partners, and serving users with the best possible analytics-driven contextual user experience. This paper outlines the evolution of data services, discusses the need for unified mobile data services approach, and lays out the basics and the merits of a services-oriented analytics-driven framework.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 2
Evolution of data services 3
Integrated solution offering 11
Mobile Search – providing impetus for integration 15
Rise of the brands – What’s your Audience Strategy? 17
Analytics driven unified framework 21
Mobile Advertising 26
Your comments are always welcome.
Chetan Sharma3G,AORTA,ARPU,Carriers,Devices,Japan Wireless Market,Messaging,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Search,Mobile Usability,Mobile Wallet,Strategy,Unified Messaging,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 7 comments
TiE Seattle Chapter hosted its annual mobile event earlier today. Given that Seattle is the mecca for wireless, it was no surprise that it was a sold out event with standing room only. I had the privilege of coordinating the event with my friend Sandeep Sinha – Director, Motorola. The keynote was given by Cole Brodman, Chief Development Officer, T-Mobile USA, a charismatic leader in the industry who rarely speaks at industry events, so it was great to have him participate.
The panel discussion was on “Mobile Content Monetization – Challenges and Strategies” – clearly a hot topic where lot of industry attention is these days. The panel was moderated by Len Jordan, General Partner, Frazier Technology Ventures. The panelists included:
Brendan Benzing, VP of Products and Marketing, Infospace
Jai Jaisimha, VP Product Development, Medio Systems
Satoshi Nakajima, CEO, UIEvolution
Hank Skorny, Executive VP, Business Dev & Partnering, OZ Communications
First let’s discuss the keynote and then I will get into the panel discussion. Cole walked us through the history of data growth in T-Mobile (he has been with the company for 11 years) and made some observations about the industry and the potential challenges and industry opportunities. Salient points included –
- Youth is driving growth at T-Mobile. 12% of the consumers are using the phone as landline replacement.
- Pricing in the industry has settled down and it is no longer a differentiator, so carriers are not trying to compete on price but on service differentiation.
- Presented T-Mobile in context of it being a global 109M subscriber player rather than a 26M US only player, so the numbers looked better than Verizon and the crew.
- An interesting stat was that 52% of all voice calls in the US are on mobile. Clearly a milestone.
- There are 150M email users but only 10% use it on mobile. Huge opportunity to monetize.
- Mobile web has lagged behind and has failed to meet consumer expectations. Things have also been complicated by discovery issues, complex business models and incentives. For e.g. per MB/KB pricing was ridiculous and T-Mobile realized the mistake soon after the launch and switched to a per app pricing model.
- Changed the branding from “Get More” which was about more minutes (people were telling – we have enough minutes, give us a different value prop) to “Stick Together” (or Connecting People), hence the My Favs which has done really well for T-Mobile.
- Landline has become a junk/spam filter for phone calls. People don’t give your their personal mobile number unless they really want to.
- The entertainment experience on the device hasn’t really been good for the consumer. T-Mobile is focused on User Generated Content, Shareability of Content, along with communication aspect of the device with UGC being the key component for T-Mobile’s strategy.
- Cole also felt that Location and Presence will add to a huge value prop for the apps and services and in turn the customer. Seamless integration is key.
Then the discussion moved to a panel discussion with distinguished experts pondering over issues and future of the industry. key discussion points were:
When there is a carrier on the panel, it will be dishonest for the moderator to not touch upon the “closed garden” issue, the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about in front of the carrier but endlessly ponder behind the backs. Well, Len didn’t shy away and put it straight to the panel. Satoshi, a veteran in the industry was bold to address it head-on, telling it like it is — carrier model in the US is a closed model and that hurts the entrepreneurs and if you think you will be in the next company which gets sold to Google, forget it. Lead time are so long that you might not survive. Brendan said it takes patience and commitment to scalability and reliability before you can crack the nut.
Cole to his credit acknowledged the issue and said, yes, as carriers, we do make things hard for the entrepreneurs to work with us, we haven’t built enough tools to make things simpler. However, he said, carriers need to take few issues into consideration, the biggest one being customer support costs. If there is a minor issue, multiply that by 26M and it can quickly become a nightmare. Secondly, User experience needs to be solid. We as an industry haven’t done a good job, he thought, by pushing out some of the half-baked solutions. And, finally, the spectrum isn’t free like the Internet, even when broadband comes, it will be an issue. However, industry needs to set the bar for introduction of apps a bit lower to test out the market, so instead of releasing it to 26M, introduce it to a small subset, test and expand. T-Mobile is working on figuring this out.
When asked, what’s the driving factor for mobile content, everyone agreed (of course) the personal nature of the device, the asynchronous capability, and personalization capability is important. Satoshi mentioned his nirvana moment was when he saw the first version of a mobile fishing game in Japan, where users could set the location for fish and when the back-end server ‘caught’ the fish, an SMS alert was sent. It affirmed the “different nature of this medium”. Hank narrowed it down to communication, jewelry, and entertainment being the key elements for mobile. Jai said that presence and location are going to make a huge difference in mobile UX.
The challenge of discovery of content was mentioned. Brendan thought the opportunity for “mobile advertising” is huge but it will take good amount of time for the market to develop. The models for advertising based content monetization will start to happen. Jai also thought indirect monetization models will start to happen soon and also Long tail content monetization will be significant as it is an untapped territory right now.
Len asked, how things are different in Intl market? Brendan said, some of the differences are in how people consume media, and how mobile fulfills the need for media consumption demands and needs.
To the question of how we pay for all this, Satoshi pointed out two business models, one is people will pay for mobilizing their Internet experiences. He said, Myspace is free online but the mobile version is $3.99 but is the biggest selling app on AT&T (value is in immediacy) and second the standard comcast/cable model of flat fee for services like VCast irrespective of the apps and content you consume (with bundling of course).
Brendan thought that Personalization will always be a big market. Also, an untapped market is the commerce on the phone. Online, 30% of search revenue is based on checkout or from ecommerce players. Micropayments for commerce and content will be big.
Cole emphasized that things need to be made very simple like RIM did for email – intuitive and easy to use. He said, carriers should focus on horizontal things instead of focusing too much on vertical elements. To the question on alternate billing models, they are looking at Paypal and other means for billing.
Satoshi thought that offdeck market is another opportunity that hasn’t been fully exploited yet but the challenge is getting eyeballs.
Finally, there was a question around why US is so behind. Cole countered that there is a perception that US is behind but we are doing fairly well. I agree, if you look the numbers, 12-15% growth Q-over-Q over past 10+ quarters ain’t bad. That’s clearly a misconception in the market as highlighted in our Q107 update.
So, a variety of issues tackled, some fun discussion, good networking, and a very successful event. Thanks to all those who were able to make it. The Wireless SIG is doing another event in June, stay tuned.
Chetan Sharma Consulting was a proud sponsor of the event along with other great sponsors.
Photo Credits: Shashi Shashidhar
Carnival of the Mobilists #68 April 9, 2007Posted by chetan in : 4G,AORTA,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,European Wireless Market,Infrastructure,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Usability,Mobile Users,Privacy,Smart Phones,Strategy,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 14 comments
In 1991, Mark Weiser, in his seminal article, “The Computer for the 21st Century,” described ubiquitous computing as a “world in which humans and computers were seamlessly united”. The article opened with “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”. IBM evangelized the concept as pervasive computing in the nineties. Later in 1997, Mark Anderson, one of the best forecasters in our business, coined the term AORTA or “Always On-Real Time Access” to announce the age of “always on, always connected to any information at anytime, anywhere”. Then, in 2003, my good friend Dr. Yasuhisa Nakamura at NTT DoCoMo wrote in the Introduction of our book about broadband connectivity that will become an “air-like” infrastructure, omnipresent, without us (devices) being conscious of it. That’s the essence of this blog, discussing the ideas put forth by Mark Weiser and subsequent visionaries – tracking the AORTA evolution.
I am glad you could join us for the 68th edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists – a weekly showcase of best writing by Mobilists from around the world on topics that are near and dear to us. I am delighted to present you with the best posts from last week that will help carry the discussion of AORTA forward.
Ajit Jaokar of OpenGardens fame muses – why carriers are not proactive about increasing touch points with the customers?. Indeed, carriers could do a much better job by the communicating with their customers via what else – the device. Shouldn’t mobile advertising start at home?
Raddedas at TechType takes the South Korean mobile players like Samsung and LG to task for not opening up their platforms to external developers. Welcome to the Carnival and thanks for your post.
Ed at The Pisstakers writes about formatting website with graphics to fit cell phones.
Barbara Ballard at Little Springs Design writes about Smart Phone Evolution. Also, if you want to dig deeper into mobile user experience, be sure to check out her recently released book on “Designing the Mobile User Experience” by John Wiley.
My favorite post of the week comes from Andreas Constantinou who does an analysis of the slow demise of browser companies like Openwave who helped pioneer the space but failed to keep up with the times.
CTIA saw the arrival of Zenzui and Deepfish, both from Microsoft. Carlo Longino at MobHappy ponders – “Mobile UI Trends: Is More Better?”
Some of us are still recovering from CTIA. In case you missed it, Greg Clayman of Twofones provides an excellent summary of CTIA with commentary on Mobile TV, Advertising, Search, Standards and much more. My CTIA roundup is here. Review of the best party by Shawn Conahan is here.
Views and Reviews
Farooq Anjum at Anjum’s web provides an introduction to BREW.
Next Carnival is at Mobile Marketing & Spam hosted by Troy Norcross. Be sure to check it out. Until next time, Sayonara!
CTIA Wireless 2007 Roundup April 2, 2007Posted by chetan in : 3G,AORTA,ARPU,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Intellectual Property,International Trade,Japan Wireless Market,Mergers and Acquisitions,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Search,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,Speech Recognition,US Wireless Market,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 5 comments
Orlando was the venue for CTIA Wireless 2007. Pre-show events include Mobile Entertainment Live (Billboard), day long seminars on Mobile Advertising and Emerging Technology. The main themes from the show were Mobile Advertising, NFC and Mobile Payments, Mobile TV, and WiMAX. This note summarizes the observations, interviews of executives, pre-show briefings, and commentary from the above shows.
First let’s do the numbers Just before CTIA, M:Metrics released some numbers from their most recent survey. At the end of 2006, amongst the western nations, US had approximately 11% 3G penetration with Italy leading the way with 27%. Photo messaging is picking up reaching 15-30% penetration in most markets. CTIA also released their survey numbers. 233M subs, 76% penetration, and $8.7 billion for the latter six months of 2006, up 82% from $4.8 billion in the latter half of 2005. You probably already knew most of the above after reading our research note here. Instat reported that for the first time the handset replacement market was greater than the new purchase market. Replacement market is expected to take 80% share by 2011.
Keynotes Attendees come to keynotes to be inspired, to get a sense of the direction of our industry. Unfortunately, some use the opportunity as a sales platform and rehash of press releases. What a waste of time and the platform. What an insult to the audience. I thought the best keynote came from EMI CEO Eric Nicoli, who first eloquently laid out the potential of the industry and then brought us back to reality by outlining the hurdles that we need to overcome to realize the potential. At the most basic level, it is all about simplicity, valuable functionality, and the right pricing. However, the highlight of the show was being in the same room (along with a few hundred others) with two former heads of state – Presidents Bush and Clinton.
Mobile Advertising As expected, the hottest theme out of this CTIA was Mobile Advertising. The pre-event seminar on the subject was packed with discussions and viewpoints from all parts of the value chain. The involvement of agencies was refreshing. They can help guide the industry by articulating the needs of the brands and agencies in an overall advertising framework, develop standards, and not develop point solutions that won’t scale beyond MDF campaigns. But they are keenly aware of mobile and reported positive results from their tests for some big brands. David Rittenhouse from Ogilvy noted that Lenova experienced 188% lift (n=1495) in awareness from a mobile ad campaign. Third Screen reported up to 7.5% click rates on its network. Still missing were Internet players like Google and Yahoo. Vendor driven standardization processes are not very productive and take too long to become meaningful. Since, mobile advertising is the most buzzable topic in the industry right now; companies are adjusting their positioning to become mobile advertising players (akin to becoming Web 2.0 compliant). There was some debate whether off-deck impression is worth more than an on-deck impression. CPMs are a bit out of whack and will need to drop and stabilize. Premium CPMs range from $27-35 going as high as $60. User profile is of course the holy grail of mobile advertising. Visa demonstrated that mobile advertisements isn’t really limited to messaging, keyword auction, and banner ads, but also includes promotions that drop in your applications based on your transaction history. Can carriers stop them from running this downloadable app on the device? They are running some trials to find that out. Code/Image-based advertising is also picking up – Qcode, NFC, barcodes, pictures, etc as input to trigger content/ad delivery is making its way to the US.
Amongst the various enablers (that I was able to talk to and look at), The Hyperfactory has the most comprehensive view of the space and it shows in their campaigns. Not only cross carriers and cross handsets, but also cross modality and cross countries. Mobile Advertising needs to seamlessly fit in the overall digital strategy of a brand or else there will be too much friction. GSM association has taken some lead in helping define standards in this space. MMA is also updating its best practice guide though it needs to do more to expand its vision. Companies that made their presence felt were Third Screen Media, Ad Infuse, Millennial Media, Yahoo, Smaato, Mindmatics, Bango, Medio, JumpTap, Blyk, Admob, iLoopMobile, GreyStripe, Enpocket, and Rhythm.
Not to be outdone, Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola were also showing some future mobile advertising concepts that allow for cross medium advertising. For e.g. purchasing or activating advertising subsidized content on one device (like mobile) and viewing on another (like IPTV) and the experience is subsidized and interstitialized with advertisements.
Note: As some of you know, we have been involved in helping players in the value chain with mobile advertising strategy for the past two years. Well, we are now writing the book on it, literally! This book on Mobile Advertising is a collaboration with two brilliant co-authors and is going to be published by a major publisher. It will explore the key elements that will make mobile advertising tick. If you know of interesting case studies or people we should talk to, please do let us know. Check out our two part series on the subject published in Wireless World Magazine. Track the progress and become part of the conversation and the book at http://www.chetansharma.com/blog/category/mobile-advertising
Mobile TV With Mediaflo’s launch, the discussion in the US has changed from unicast/multicast to broadcast. With Cingular and Verizon adopting Mediaflo, it is hard to see DVB-H’s future in the US. Spent some time with Dr. Kamil Grajski, Chairman of the FLO forum. FLO’s advantage comes from better channel switching time and slightly better spectrum efficiency. The goal is to pursue individual partnerships by geography that fuses spectrum, technology, and content. KDDI partnership is such an example. The quality is very impressive and the user experience raises the bar. With the introduction of clipcasting that enables some personalized content filtering on the device (e.g. Entire NASDAQ quotes are streamed but only your portfolio is displayed), broadcast can extract more value from the spectrum. Though Mediaflo has an edge, the future beyond the US shores is tough. Majority of Europe is going to go to DVB-H and similar standards. But, the potential customers are not only cellular operators but also include cable and satellite operators. Companies looking for Triple and Quad play strategies will have to come up with their mobile Broadcast strategy in the next couple of years. While Mobile TV has been in the headlines for some time, the penetration in the US remains quite low – around 2% and represents less than $350M revenue in 2006 (European trends are similar). For the opportunity to scale, pricing and business models will need to be adjusted to market realities. Mobile TV has been around in Japan and Korea for a longer duration and has reached critical mass penetration. Unicast becomes expensive if the usage gets into double digits because pricing pressure doesn’t allow for monetizing by the MB. Broadcast becomes the natural solution but it is limited by spectrum, less interactivity, and lack of handsets in the short-term. Clearly, hybrid models will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. For broadcast, it is about the spectrum first and the technology second.
Near Field Communication (NFC) VISA has been running NFC trials around the country for some time with VISA credit cards (30K) and POS terminals (50K). The goal is to do NFC on the phone. VISA also released numbers from their NA survey (n=800) – 57% interested, 64% of Gen X/Y will consider switching carriers and credit card for mobile payment capability, by 5:1, consumers prefer to have charges on their credit card bill rather than their phone bill. The first generation of NFC phones is hitting the US market later this year. Kyocera demonstrated buying from a vending machine, downloading content, and doing internet transactions using an NFC-enabled prototype handset. It also had a biometric fingerprint sensor. Korea and Japanese market have been using phone as a wallet for some time (e.g. DoCoMo’s FeliCa) and it will be great to see such enhancements in Europe and North America. There is a demand for such solutions, Visa is providing leadership, and hopefully, the ecosystem will step up. Last year, in US, $7.2Trillion dollars worth of consumer financial transactions took place. Taking a small cut of this pie will be a big deal. Enabler to watch – Ecrio.
Biometrics NTT DoCoMo introduced handset with biometric capability in 2003, we expect to see it introduced in the US in first half of 2008. AuthenTec has been dominating the market for both PC/laptops and mobile phones. Japan has reached about 10% penetration for biometric sensors in mobile devices. ROW is just getting started. HTC is introducing some devices (for the US market) with biometric sensors later this year.
Mobile Search Google and Yahoo announced their next release of mobile/local search. Google’s attempts at mobile search reminds me of Microsoft’s early attempts to build an OS for mobile phones. I thought AskMeNow’s semantic search was pretty good though they are still working on indexing which can take a long time due to understanding content. With the recent purchases of BeVocal and TellMe, voice is getting its due attention. V-enable showed their local 411 app and Nuance talked about voice-enabled music search. Voice has become an integral part of any mobile search (and ad) strategy.
Interesting handsets While the industry is waiting for the June launch of iPhone, several new concepts and phones emerged at the show. Hopefully, NA operators got inspired from the handsets available in Asia and will bring some of that experience here. Samsung launched its dual-faced Ultra. While, it is a first for the industry, the user experience left lot to be desired, the Sharp touch UI is confusing. DoCoMo had the best selection on display. Flipstart is launching a $2000 mobile device (UMPC form factor), which has full PC running on it. It does have some clever user experience enhancements that make the usability acceptable but I am not sure if the price point will hold in the market where you can find an equally powerful laptop for half the price.
User Interface Apple’s iPhone has raised the bar on device user experience. Zenzui announced their UX technology (based on Microsoft IP) that takes us away from the boring menu-based navigation schemes. Punchcut showed what’s possible utilizing the idle screen. Flipstart had some clever UX enhancements that I hope can get integrated into other forms of computing. Biometric sensors also surprisingly prove to be a good navigation element, better than 5 key dial and even iPOD dial.
Simplicity EMI’s Nicoli had emphasized on simplicity of applications and services. AT&T’s COO Randall Stephenson echoed similar sentiments. It is a no-brainer, right? So, why do we make things inherently complex and hard-to-use? Hasn’t Apple taught us enough? Ontela’s mobile imaging platform is following on Apple’s footsteps. The technology allows you to take the picture and store it on any other device or destination within 30-60 seconds. No user intervention. It just works.
GYM is in the house It was the first CTIA with Google and Yahoo having their own booths, announcing their arrival. Their presence was telling of the battles to come. Microsoft has been coming to the show for some time but primarily to show their devices and talk about enterprise (email) applications.
LBS and Telematics There were a number of firms talking about telematics or navigation on the phone or devices for your car. Navteq, TeleAtlas, TeleNav, Inrix, Pharos, Kore, deCarta, and many others displayed their wares. On the consumer side, navigation is getting embedded into Local search apps which are enhancing the user experience quite a bit. FindIt and Google Maps are two examples. TCS is working on a framework for LBS based mobile advertising that allows carriers and users to control location availability to applications, something I wrote about back in 2001. Sprint has raised the bar by opening the APIs for developers and loosening the pricing friction. GSM operators are awaiting the arrival of OMA compliant phones. European carriers are targeting Christmas 2007 to launch several OMA SUPL devices while US will see such devices from Cingular next year. The best navigation was from Churchill Navigation which gives you a bird’s eye view in a fun-interactive experience.
WiMax. Sprint showed some potential launch devices for their WiMax service. Initially, the focus is limited to data cards and UMPCs. There will be restrictions on data usage and the move to handset form factor devices is uncertain. Samsung showed video conferencing at 12fps and VoIP on WiMax devices (PDA form factor). Since Intel put a boat load of money into Clearwire and Sprint’s endorsement, WiMax industry has been surging ahead but long-term viability is still not certain, how fast will device pricing drop?
China While China can’t make up its mind on TD-SCDMA, Chinese manufacturers are increasingly competing with the big boys, the handset rollouts and infrastructure wins are a testament to that. They should just let go of their obsession with TD-SCDMA, there are plenty of opportunities for their manufacturers. Canada, Finland, Taiwan, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Korea, and UK also had Intl pavilions.
The ecosystem friction The mobile data ecosystem tension is bubbling up. It was highlighted in the first session of the conference – Jim Ryan (Cingular) vs. Larry Shapiro (Disney) well moderated by Tom Wheeler (past CTIA President). Carriers want control (some more than others) so that they can manage user experience and minimize customer support calls. Content companies want to bypass the carrier and go direct to the consumer. Things are improving but not at the pace everyone would like it to be. This debate is not going away. Perhaps, CTIA can demonstrate some leadership in kicking-off some content interoperability (and treat ad as content) initiatives.
Test equipment Whether it is entertainment or enterprise, very little attention is given to testing and monitoring data applications and services. Keynote launched its on-demand platform for testing and monitoring for developers who for $500/day can test on live devices anywhere in the world. This service can significantly lower down the cost of procuring handsets and doing testing.
Coolest booth In my travels around the world, in every major city, you can’t escape the massive ads from Samsung and LG. CTIA is no different. The plastered ads all over and the booth from these two Korean companies were clearly the pick of the show with LG edging out its arch-rival by creating a gigantic music player.
- Performance of the free WiFi at the convention center was much better than previous CTIAs.
- Community Currency – Hookmobile has been working with carriers and content owners to create variable currency for content – branded, ads, or UGC. It is around Mobile Trading Community and using content to digitize trading cards, create some exclusivity and hence some viral effect. In future users can create their own trading cards for their social network. This is a good use for the MMS infrastructure that is collecting dust right now.
- Enterprise – Mobile Advertising, NFC/Mobile Payments, and Mobile TV overwhelmed any discussion on enterprise mobility. Motorola (Symbol) launched their Enterprise Digital Assistant – MC35.
- M&A scene was as dry as the Sahara desert, but several funding press releases hit the wires. Deal of the week – Verizon’s $6 billion deal with Alcatel-Lucent.
- FMC. Lot of FMC discussion. As triple/quadplay and convergence get closer to reality, there is a lot of focus on FMC. From IPTV to Mobile to Vo[X] to Push-to-X, there were lots of demos and discussions.
- DoCoMo showcased their “Bone Conduction Receiver Microphone” that helps hearing in noisy locations and for people with hearing difficulties. Very cool.
- 3rd Dimension demonstrated a live mobile traffic cam application.
Your comments are always welcome.
US Wireless Data Market Update – 4Q06 and 2006 March 4, 2007Posted by chetan in : 3G,AORTA,ARPU,BRIC,Carriers,CTIA,Devices,European Wireless Market,India,Indian Wireless Market,Intellectual Property,Japan Wireless Market,Mergers and Acquisitions,Messaging,Middleware,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile TV,Mobile Usability,MVNO,Smart Phones,Speaking Engagements,US Wireless Market,WiMax,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far
US Wireless Data Market Update – 2006
US Wireless Data Market update – 4Q06 and 2006
- US wireless data market continued its rapid growth in 2006. Wireless data service revenues jumped almost 84% to approximately $15.8B (from $8.6B in 2005). The service data revenues are likely to top $27B in 2007.
- The average data ARPU climbed 50% while the average voice ARPU declined 7% since EOY 2005. Overall ARPU declined 1% from 2005 levels.
- The strongest growth was experienced by Verizon which more than doubled its data revenues, up 101%, followed by Sprint up 69%, T-Mobile up 66% and AT&T (old Cingular) was up 62%. Except for Sprint, rest of the top 4 maintained a double digit growth rate Q-over-Q for the entire year (Sprint’s growth rate was marginally down to single digits in Q2 and Q3 but made up for the loss with a 19% increase in Q4).
- The top three carriers again garnered over $1B/quarter in data revenues for the second straight quarter, with Verizon coming out on top with $1.4B followed by AT&T at $1.3B.
- The US market added approximately 23M new subscribers or 1.92M subs/month. This puts the market at approx. 78% penetration. We will start to see the decline in market growth from here on.
- For the FY2006, Verizon’s data revenues were at $4.4B, AT&T at $4.25B, Sprint Nextel at $4B and TMO US finished the year at $1.6B.
- Verizon continued to dominate the 2006 ARPU sweepstakes with approximately 16% of its revenue coming from data services followed by Sprint and AT&T at 14.6%, and TMO US close behind at 13%. The average data ARPU is no at 14.5%. Sprint maintained its leadership in terms of raw data ARPU at $8.75. In fact, its CDMA data ARPU topped $12.
- Verizon gained the most number of customers in 2006 with 7.7M net adds followed by AT&T at 6.9M and TMO at 3.3M. Sprint at 1.6M, and Alltel with 1.56M rounded up the top 5.
- US 3G subscriber base continues to grow – primarily due to strong showing by Verizon and Sprint Nextel’s aggressive push. AT&T also covered significant ground while TMO is expected to join the fray by EOY 2007. As discussed in our 2005 paper, 2007 is priming to be the inflection year for 3G in US (and Europe). At the end of 2006, 3G penetration stood at approximately 10%.
- US Off-net revenues for the year exceeded $750M.
- In 2006, Data ARPU of CDMA/EV-DO carriers was 21% higher than GSM/WCDMA carriers.
- Several high-profile MVNOs were launched over the course of last year and the overall results haven’t been favorable primarily due to poor execution, instant crowding effect, and competition from big 4. Mobile ESPN was first to bow out. Helio and Amp’D have boasted $100 ARPU and 100K subscriber base but the burn rate and Cost of Customer Acquisition remains quite high.
- US wireless carriers maintained their strong showing vis-à-vis their peers worldwide. Verizon, Cingular, and Sprint maintained their ranking # 4, 5, and 6 respectively, amongst the top 10 operators worldwide in terms of total wireless data revenue generated for 2006. US is the only country with 3 operators who generated $4B or more in data revenues in 2006 and are going over $1B/quarter now.
- For the second straight quarter- TMO US outperformed its parent TMO Germany
- Though mobile enterprise data growth doesn’t make headlines, there has been steady growth in deployments and revenues generated for carriers and product vendors. Verizon alone reported over 33% of its data revenues or $462M from the enterprise users in 4Q06.
- In terms of wireless investments, over $6.4B was invested in wireless related companies/startups in 2006. Source: Rutberg. Mobile TV/Video, Mobile Personalization, Mobile Search and Advertising, Semiconductor, Carrier infrastructure, Device design and development are hot areas. M&A activity also picked up quite significantly.
- For the year 2006, mobile shipments eclipsed 1B mark for the first time with Nokia leading the way at over 347M in phone sales.
- Smartphone penetration increased into double digits and is slowly approaching the inflection point.
- 2006 started the realignment for “quad-play” and “quintuple play” positioning in the market. Clearly, bundling enhances life value of the customer and lowers churn but do you do it through partnership or investment is the question on the table.
Global update (more details in our worldwide data market update coming out soon)
- The worldwide markets ended with approximately 2.6B connections and are going to top 3B by end of 2007. Significant growth is coming from India and China with India registering an astounding 7M net adds every month now. China is close behind at 6M/month. Overall, the world market is slowly approaching 50% penetration (should reach the target in first half of 2008) with approx. 41% penetration at the end of 2006.
NTT DoCoMo became the first carrier to cross $10B/yr in data revenues in a given calendar year. It was followed by China Mobile at $8.6B.
Worldwide Handset market share 2006: Nokia maintained its number one position with 36% market share. Motorola increased its market share by 4 percentage points to 23%, Samsung dropped a point to 11%. Sony Ericsson edged past LG with 9% while LG dropped to 6%. Nokia shipped over 100M handsets in 4Q06 (a first by any OEM). Nokia’s ASP dropped by $2 from EOY 2005 while Motorola’s dropped by a whopping $27 putting the company in struggle mode. Sony Ericsson bucked the trend and increased its ASP by $17 showing a strong comeback.
- 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%.
- China Mobile became the world’s most valued operator surpassing Vodafone.
2007 – Early signs
- iPhone: What’s in your pocket? – The launch of iPhone after years of rumors captured the imagination and headlines of the industry. The bar has been raised.
- Mobile Advertising – Tremendous activity (trials and press releases) in this area though there is confusion in the industry w.r.t the definition and the standardization process.
- LBS, GPS, and Navigation – It is becoming mainstream. What! We will have to pay for it?
- Enterprise Applications – Mobile Enterprise sector is quietly making strides with mobile becoming an integral part of corporate IT strategy though several challenges remain.
- Emerging Markets – Growth is in emerging markets but who gets to make money?
- Content Interoperability – Access to content across devices and networks is a challenge.
- Convergence – Mobile is converging with Net, Net is converging with cable, wireless phone is converging with desktop phone, voice is converging with data, CBS is converging with YouTube, Skype is converging with Qwest, … you get the picture.
- Others to watch – NFC, WiMAX, FemtoCells, Mobile IM, 4G, Mediaflo.
Your comments are always welcome.