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US Mobile Data Market Update Q1 2011 May 9, 2011

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Connected Devices, Indian Wireless Market, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Breakfast Series, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Payments, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

US Mobile Data Market Update Q1 2011

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq12011.htm

 

 

The US wireless data market grew 4% Q/Q and 23% Y/Y to reach $15.4B in mobile data service revenues in Q1 2011 and is on course to increase Y/Y by 22% to $67B in 2011.

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

For the first time, the smartphone sales crossed the 50% share mark in the US. Also, the US now accounts for approximately one-third of all smartphone sales in the world.

The Big News - AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile

The big news during Q1 2011 was of course the blockbuster announcement of the acquisition of T-Mobile USA. We had pondered on the viability of 4 operators in the US market in the past. All the major mobile market eventually settle with three main players controlling the market. So, the news wasn’t a surprise as we had expected something to break loose and conform to the natural market evolution. T-Mobile US has been under tremendous pressure for the last 2 years being unable to expand its postpaid base despite modernizing its network/backhaul and introducing a slew of impressive handsets. It was getting squeezed both from the top (Verizon and AT&T) and from the bottom (MetroPCS, etc.) while duking it out with Sprint in the middle. The decision window was closing as Deutsche Telekom had to decide if it wanted to invest in LTE or not (in the US market). Given that the parent business has been under pressure as well, it decided to take the most attractive available option.

The proposed merger will obviously have an impact on the market structure. The market power will get concentrated in the top 2. The HHI3 Index will go from .22 to .31 but the HHI3 value will be at par with UK, Canada (though the Canadian market is not a good proxy for a competitive market), and some of the other markets. The biggest task for the US regulators will be to analyze the impact on the consumer interest and service pricing on a market-by-market basis.

Putting things into perspective, this move is not unusual for a developed market. On average, the top 3 operators in the developed markets around the world control 94% of the market. The proposed merger roughly resembles the merger that took place in UK last year when T-Mobile and Orange, the number 3 and 4 player (each having approximately 19% of the share) respectively in the market merged to form Everything Everywhere and become the number 1 player in the market with 38% market share.

However, if we look at the history of competitiveness in the US mobile market, the market and revenue concentration will be at its highest in the history of the US wireless industry. Such a move is likely to have an impact on the ecosystem depending on the regulatory policies.

Last month, we published a first of its kind in-depth study on competition in mobile markets -“Competition and the Evolution of Mobile Markets - A Study of Competition in Global Mobile Markets”. The paper presents the analysis and an in-depth analytical framework to study the competitive landscape in the global mobile markets.

Transparency as a competitive advantage

An unfortunate side effect of an industry moving too fast is that regulations are often behind the curve (we discuss the role of regulators in our Competition paper mentioned above). Q2 will see a lot of heated debates around privacy and competition. Current regulatory framework in the US seems ineffective to meet the demands of the digital age. The indecision and a weak regulatory framework can be harmful to the ecosystem. While the industry has done a poor job of explaining targeting and relevancy and the associated consumer benefits, by over reacting, regulators can mess up the potential for better services. It is not the mechanics they need to regulate but the “transparency” of services and policies in plain English. Regulating transparency seems to be a more effective way. The ecosystem players will do better if they use transparency not as a threat but as a competitive advantage.

The new troika - AAG

A couple of years back, I gave a talk about the changing mobile ecosystem and what it means to compete in an environment where the ecosystem stacks get reshuffled every few months. I wrote about that in an essay that was published in the Mobile Future Forward book last year. While innovation is coming from all angles - fast and furious - the troika of Apple, Amazon, and Google is leading the way right now. Their interests are clashing in multiple dimensions - device, user data, cloud, advertising, local, commerce, books, etc. In a fast changing environment, either you define the market or be defined by it. The journey from being an arch-rival to a frenemy (and vice-versa) can be a short one.

A significant shift

As we mentioned in our last research note, 2010 marked the milestone of the start of a new computing and communications era. For the first time in the US, the smartphones shipments exceeded the traditional computer segments (that consists of desktops, notebooks and netbooks). Smartphones and the connected devices now account for 51% of the computing devices revenue in the US (devices include desktops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, eReaders, and conventional feature and smartphones)

The growth in of connected devices

The connected devices category is the fastest growing segment of the market and while the ARPUs are low, due to the higher margins this segment will prove to be the most profitable in the coming years. By the end of 2011, connected devices will be commanding double digit market share. However, not all sub-segments are going to be successful in the operator channel until multi-device data pricing plans are introduced.

Apple’s iPad has been, as expected, a runaway success. Several other tablets launched in 2011 but none has come close to being a credible challenge. OEMs will do well to segment the market and price accordingly rather than follow Apple in performance and pricing. Market is fairly young and there is tremendous room for growth. Another trend that is obvious is the development of an alternate ecosystem. 85% of the tablets use primarily use WiFi for connectivity meaning that OEMs need more diverse distribution channels. Operators who start to bundle multiple devices by single data plans and data buckets are going to see a better yield in this category.

We do expect multi-device or family data plans to start being introduced in the US market in 2011. Also, the $200-250 Android tablets will start to emerge during the second half of the year to broaden the choices for the consumers.

Turmoil in the OEM land

Another headline grabbing event in Q1 2011 was that of Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia. Nokia’s lack of a credible response to Apple and Android has left the company scrambling for survival. Nokia still dominates the unit sales but the domination of Apple and the Android OEMs has taken away significant profits and ecosystem mindshare. Industry is awaiting the first release of the Windows phone from Nokia which will have a lot riding on it. If the release of iPhone 5 coincides with this release, the Christmas selling season will be interesting.

The OEMs that have impressed the most are HTC and Samsung. The collapsed release cycles and the fierce pace of introduction of new devices have caught many of the traditional players unprepared. These things have a tendency of going in cycles so we expect the pendulum to swing again in the next 12-24 months.

There is a fight for the #3 spot and it is likely that Windows will fill that void. However, for developers, iOS and Android are the only platforms they need to worry about right now.

Verizon finally got its iPhone and as expected it didn’t make a big dent into the AT&T’s financials.

Platforms - Horizontal vs. Vertical

Over the past few quarters, we have seen a fascinating battle brew between the horizontal (Android and Windows) and the vertical (Apple, RIM, Nokia) device platforms. In the US, in the smartphone category, the horizontal platforms (primarily Android) has been gaining significant share since Q1 2010 and now have over 65% share of the new devices sold while the vertical platforms’ share has declined to 35%. However, the revenues and profits are still dominated by the vertical platforms.

What to expect in the coming months?

All this has setup an absolutely fascinating 2011 in the communication/computing industry. Convergence is everywhere and is leading to a fundamental reset of the value chains and ecosystems. We are going to be discussing the ins and outs of how the  industry is going to evolve in the next decade in our Sept 12th mobile thought leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward which is bringing exceptional industry thought-leaders, inventors, and doers to brainstorm, discuss, and debate what’s next. Hope you can join us.

As usual, 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 Q1 2011 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues

  • The US Wireless data service revenues grew 4% Q/Q and 23% Y/Y to $15.4B in Q410. The mobile data services revenues for the US market are expected to reach $67B in 2011.
  • Verizon and AT&T had a good mobile data quarter accounting for 76% of the increase in data revenues in Q1 2011.
  • T-Mobile’s HSPA+ drive is starting to pay dividends. While the postpaid net-adds were still in the red, its data growth is starting to match with its peers. The 27% smartphone base definitely helps.
  • For the quarter, AT&T and Verizon accounted for 69% of the market data services revenues and 65% of the subscription base.
  • AT&T edged past China Mobile to become #3 operator by mobile data revenues. Verizon is already at #1 followed by NTT DoCoMo. Sprint and T-Mobile maintained their #6 and #8 rank in the top 10 mobile data operators list for Q1 2011. The proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile will make AT&T #1 by a distance and place 20% of the global mobile data revenues in the hands of the top two US operators.

ARPU

  • The Overall ARPU increased by $0.11. Average voice ARPU declined by $0.36 while the average data ARPU grew by $0.47 or 3% Q/Q.
  • The average industry percentage contribution of data to overall ARPU was 35% in Q111 and is likely to touch 40% by year’s end.
  • Verizon and Sprint were neck-and-neck in data ARPU followed by AT&T. In terms of % contribution, all the top three operators exceeded the 30% mark. T-Mobile ended the quarter with approximately 29% of its revenue coming from the data services.
  • We expect data revenues to exceed voice revenues in the US market before Q2 2013.

Subscribers

  • Helped by the growth in connected devices, the overall net-adds increased by 4.9M.
  • For the sixth straight quarter, AT&T reported more net-adds from connected devices than postpaid subs. Connected devices are now almost 12% of AT&T’s subscription base.
  • Overall, AT&T has 43% of the connected device share of the market. The connected device segment grew 9.6% Q/Q and 48% Y/Y.

· Sprint is on good comeback adding over million customers. Sprint extended its streak of positive net-adds to four quarters by adding over a million subs  for the second straight time since Q1 2006.

· T-Mobile however continues to be sandwiched between the top three and the next three and is having a hard time adding postpaid subscribers.

Applications and Services

  • While the percentage share of the data revenues is declining for messaging, the revenue growth stays strong with almost $5B in revenues.
  • The market is finally starting to see activity in the mobile commerce and payment services as well as in various industry verticals like healthcare, retail, and education. The fight for the 3% block is finally in the open. Operators, financial institutions, and the internet players are all vying for a piece of the mobile wallet. Much more to come in 2H 2011. (We will be going in-depth into mobile commerce and payments in our upcoming Mobile Breakfast Series event on Jun 28th)

Handsets

  • Nokia sold 108.5M units in Q1 2011 accounting for 28% of the market share. Samsung continues to be one of the most agile players in the device business shipping 70M for a 18% share of the market. The nimble team at HTC outclassed its bigger peers and edged past Nokia in market cap.
  • Apple, a company that was given a lifeline by Microsoft in 1997 is now valued 45% or $100B more than Microsoft primarily on the strength of its wireless portfolio.
  • In the US, for the first time, 51% of the devices sold were smartphones. Global average is at 26%. One-third of all smartphones sold were sold in the US making it the hot bed for consumer devices.
  • Smartphones now account for 80% revenue of all phones sold in the US.
  • In the vertical vs. horizontal platform battle, the ecosystem is shifting towards horizontal domination in the near-term (units sold) while a majority of the profits reside in the vertical column.
  • 85% of the tablets use WiFi only (some have inactivated cellular chipset) meaning the operator channel is not a necessary distribution channel. Operators who start to bundle multiple devices by single data plans and data buckets are going to see a better yield in this category.

Global Update

  • Race to a billion - India went past 800M in Q1 2011 subs and is closing on China and we expect that by the end of the year, India will become the largest mobile market on the planet. By early 2012 both India and China will have more than a billion subscriptions.
  • China Mobile crossed the 600M subscription mark however its 3G introduction has had a tepid response thus and its 4G strategy remains in flux.
  • More details to come in our global market update.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Aug 2011. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Jun 2011.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

US Mobile Data Market Update Q3 2010 November 7, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, CTIA, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, Location Based Services, MVNO, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Event, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Smart Phones, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

US Mobile Data Market Update Q3 2010

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq32010.htm

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Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 7% Q/Q and 25% Y/Y to exceed $14B in mobile data service revenues in Q3 2010 - on track to meet (and most likely exceed) our initial estimate of $54B for the year.

Sprint had a second straight positive net-add quarter. T-Mobile also reversed its losses and had a net-positive quarter though postpaid additions were down for both the carriers. 2011 is shaping up to be an interesting year with some big M&As on the cards. The launch of 4G networks provides an opportunity to realign the industry.

The US subscription penetration crossed 96% at the end of Q3 2010. If we take out the demographics of 5 yrs and younger, the mobile penetration is now past 101%. While the traditional net-adds have been slowing, the “connected device” segment is picking up so much that AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint added more connected devices than postpaid subs in Q3 2010. Given the slow postpaid growth, operators are fiercely competing in prepaid, enterprise, connected devices, and M2M segments.

The role of connected devices

In the connected device category, tablets led almost singlehandedly by the iPad is taking away the lion share of the revenues. The whole category is catching up speed in the US with 12% growth Q/Q much higher than in the postpaid segment which has trickled down to 1% Q/Q growth by Q3 2010.

We expect that in less than 5 years, the connected devices category will generate more revenue for the operators than the entire prepaid segment in the US. While today, connected devices represent only 3% of the quarterly data revenues, this segment didn’t really exist a few months ago and will keep on gaining strength every year for the foreseeable future.

In terms of financials, the addition of connected devices units and revenues to the mix masks the tremendous growth in smartphone related data revenues. For example, T-Mobile lost 360K postpaid subs but added 300K connected devices for a net loss of 60K subscriptions. Because of lower ARPU, Connected devices have a dilutive impact on the revenues and ARPU so the overall ARPU for postpaid segment for T-Mobile was $52 instead of $55.

iPad literally created a new category and rest of the industry is scrambling to respond. Some just want to follow Apple’s trail to cash in while others don’t want to competing head-to-head with Apple so they are launching smaller sized units. There will be others who will launch devices at every inch increments just to see what sticks. However you might slice and dice the market, the segment is here to stay and as we had mentioned before, Netbooks will take a hit as the category was the creature of a falling economy and with a viable alternate, the need for Netbooks diminishes.

Mobile Data Consumption

Data traffic continued to increase across all networks. There are some superphones that are routinely average more than 1 GB/mo, superphones as a category is averaging 700-800 MB/mo. By the end of 2010, we expect the average US consumption to be approximately 325 MB/mo up 112% from 2009. This puts US right behind Sweden in the top two by per capita mobile data consumption. While the US lags Japan and Korea in 3G penetration by a distance, due to higher penetration of smartphones and datacards, the consumption is much higher than its Asian counterparts. Given that it is also becoming the largest deployment base for HSPA+ and LTE, most of the cutting edge research in areas of data management and experimentation with policy, regulations, strategy, and business models is taking place in the networks of the US operators and keenly watched by players across the global ecosystem.

As we had forecasted, the tiered pricing structure for mobile broadband expanded further with Verizon and T-Mobile following AT&T in deploying policy management strategies for controlling data margins. We will see the pricing evolve over the next 2-4 quarters as the US mobile ecosystem adjusts to the new realities and strategies for mobile data consumption.

What to expect in the coming months?

Kids of the now generation are growing with connected electronics that is fundamentally altering the behaviors and expectations of interaction, communication, consumption, and monetization.

Microsoft launched its much anticipated Windows Phone 7 in a bid to recapture the mind- and unit-share. By taking a different UI route, it actually has a shot to be a viable third option to iPhone and Android and pushing RIM from the top 3.

All this has setup an absolutely fascinating 2011 in the communication/computing industry. Convergence is everywhere and is leading to fundamental reset of the value chains and ecosystems. We are going to be discussing the ins and outs of how the  industry is going to evolve in the next decade in our Sept 15th event – Mobile Future Forward which is bringing exceptional industry thought-leaders, inventors, and doers to brainstorm, discuss, and debate what’s next. More details to come. We will also be discussing the trends and opportunities in our Dec Mobile Breakfast Series event.

US is also leading the way in smartphone sales. In Q3 2010, 47% of the devices sold in the US were smartphones compared to 24% globally. The fast pace of device introduction has catapulted the agile players like Samsung and HTC to the forefront while others like LG and Sony Ericsson have lost ground. By focusing singularly on Android and by broadening the device portfolio, Motorola has written a great comeback script.

The pace of product introduction is accelerating with each quarter. Devices of all shapes and sizes are coming into the market literally every week. Players are having to re-evaluate their businesses and long-term strategies. There are several players whose future is at stake (to put it mildly). The competition has grown fierce and companies are finding it hard to take ideas from R&D to products in market in a short amount of time.

While 2010 started quite active on the regulatory front as the national broadband plan was unveiled in March little substantive progress has been made w.r.t. the spectrum, net-neutrality, and other broadband related issues.

To start planning for 4G, 5G, and beyond, US should think about rolling a 50 year broadband plan. While more spectrum is always helpful, will we have all the spectrum we need in 2050? or do we need to invent new technologies and business models that use spectrum more wisely? This topic will keep the industry occupied for some time to come.

ITU christened LTE-A and Wireless MAN-Advanced as the “official” 4G technologies but the marketing departments cared less.  (We will be releasing the next edition of our “State of the “Mobile” Broadband Nation” in the coming months.

As we had mentioned last year, the mobile data traffic kept on growing disproportional to the revenues. A series of solutions have come into the market from players big and small. We released the second edition of our in-depth research paper on data growth - "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era"  earlier this year.

Finally, operators are starting to diversify more aggressively than in the past. AT&T’s mobile enterprise business is a leading indicator of this trend. Their focus by verticals has yielded new revenue streams and positioning them to become a one-stop shop for devices, access, and services in the enterprise market.

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 Q3 2010 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 7, 17)

ARPU (Slides 8-11)

Subscribers (Slides 12-15)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Data Traffic (Slide 16)

· As we noted in our previous updates, the data traffic is now significantly more than the voice traffic. By end of 2010, we expect the average US consumer was consuming approximately 325 MB/mo up 112% in 12 months. The good news is that there are several solutions available and are being invented that will help manage the data growth starting with the tiered pricing plans.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Mar 2011. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Dec 2010. Be sure to participate in our annual mobile industry predictions survey coming out in Dec 2010.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

Mobile Industry 1H 2010 Assessment July 8, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Gaming, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Event, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Partnership, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

Mobile Industry 1H 2010 Assessment

http://chetansharma.com/1H10mobileassessment.htm

As the mobile world approaches the 5 billion subscription landmark, it is time to do a half yearly assessment of 2010. We will have our official Q2 2010 analysis for the US market in Aug and the global analysis for 1H 2010 in Sept after all the numbers are in. In the meantime, it might be worthwhile to take a stock of the first 6 months, the ensuing trends and what they mean for the long-term.

Mobile Ecosystem has become much more complex

In case you didn’t notice, the competitive landscape has changed significantly over the last 6-12 months. The fine line between partners and competitors can get obliterated in a quarter. Apple is competing with Cisco, Comcast is going after AT&T’s business, Visa and Verizon want to be the payment channel of choice, Amazon is gunning for Microsoft’s enterprise business, Kodak is competing with Yahoo, so on and so forth. One product launch, one acquisition, can change the game in an instant.  And this is only the beginning.

Network evolution: more capacity, more bandwidth, tremendous usage

We have covered this topic in detail in our paper - Managing growth and profits in the Yottabyte era. As we had predicted, the tiering of pricing plan has started in the US which is actually a good thing. It will force some discipline and technology innovation to solve the longer-term problem of network congestion. While AT&T got things in motion, market forces will take care of the right pricing and GB levels in the coming months. Data consumption on TeliaSonera and Clearwire’s network is a good indicator of what’s to come with 3-4x the usage compared to its counterparts.

New sources of revenue: mobile advertising, commerce, and more

Regular readers know that we have been bullish on the mobile advertising space for a long time. Over the last 6 months or so, some of the pieces are coming together though significant amount of work remains. Sergio Zyman, former CMO of Coca Cola once said “There is only one rule: advertising must sell.” And nothing will sell better than mobile. Period. While North America and Western Europe have been slow to wake up to the mobile commerce opportunities, in Japan, it is already a multi-billion dollar industry. Several trials are underway that are going to help open up the western market in the next 12 months for significant opportunities. In fact, the pie for the mobile services will keep on growing bigger but so will the number of players who want a piece of it. This will set up an interesting tug-of-war for the next couple of years

It’s the iPhone, dude!

Just when the competitors think they are all caught up with Apple,  Steve Jobs and co. releases a new product that raises the bar further. Google, Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola have done well in emulating Apple while Microsoft and Nokia have fallen behind. The embarrassing launch and demise of KIN is a example of how confused things are for some of the players. While both Microsoft and Nokia are capable for mounting good comebacks, it will take more than an org change and a sprinkle of holy water. Android will easily outsell iPhone just by the law of arithmetic but Apple’s secret weapon is iTunes. With over 150M billing relationships, it has fostered a great apps ecosystem that others will find hard to replicate entirely. While some point to Apple’s tiny marketshare, wall street looks at the fat margins - rewarding Apple by making it the most valuable technology company surpassing Microsoft in a major tech tremor. Google has run the mobile chess game with great acumen so far. Despite the Nexus experiment, the explosion of the superphone category has gone according to the plan. Overall, most of the western operators are selling smartphones at 50%+ levels each quarter.

Always On Real-Time Access

The always-connected vision of the late Mark Weiser is finally approaching some realization. Mobile is so perfectly suited for cloud computing. The younger generation is growing with the expectation that they can get access to any content from any device anywhere. The constraints and friction that doesn’t allow them to do that is just not acceptable. As such, the mobile industry is scrambling to provide tools and technologies that help the digerati access content at will. All this has to be designed and developed against the current network, content, and device constraints and evolution paths. Whether it is access to music or movies for a 15 year old or availability of the entire corporate knowledgebase, information will need to be available at a touch of a button. Companies big and small are investing in the infrastructure and software tools to make this happen. We are likely to see some interesting launches in the next 12 months.

Battle for the analytical mind - data, context and intelligence drives everything

Many people don’t realize that the battle for the consumer of 2015-2020 has already begun. The company that has the best understanding about the most consumers will have a pole position in the mobile ecosystem. Players like Google, Apple, Amazon, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, China Mobile, Disney, AT&T, Vodafone, Motorola, and others are amassing a lot of information on individuals. Besides Google and Apple, Facebook has quietly become one of the most important players in the mobile ecosystem with its phenomenal reach across many countries, tremendous stickiness of the app, and innovative onboarding process of the carriers. Of course, data is a double edged sword - it can provide enormous benefits to consumers in terms of intelligence, experience, and engagement and can also prove to be problematic when privacy and data breaches happen. In fact, that will be one of the tightest ropes many including the regulators will have to walk this decade - figuring out what they call in Swedish - logam - the right balance.

Apps vs. the Web

Recently, the ecosystem has been more enamored with the apps vs. the web debate than the early departure of Brazil and Argentina from the world cup. It is rather a silly debate. As we mentioned in our apps economy paper, both worlds will coexist for a long time. What matters for the developers is the “reach” of a certain platform or technology and the “cost” and “potential” of that reach. For the user, the only thing that matters is what’s available on “their” device. Obviously, the capabilities of the mobile browser will grow over time and it will make more sense to build certain category of applications for the web vs. on the native platforms but developers live and die in the present.

Internet of Things

Nokia took the leadership stance of announcing that all of their smartphones by the next year will have NFC. You can expect pretty much all major OEMs following the same trend which means that hundreds of millions of devices will be equipped with a chipset that will enable new experiences, applications and services. Though we still need to do a lot of work to complete the end-to-end ecosystem, we are getting close. Further, all major carriers have created separate units to address the M2M and emerging devices opportunity. iPad showed what’s possible - it fundamentally created a new leisure computing category. Also, iPad (and similar form factor devices) will find good usage in the enterprise as well. Pretty soon, it will be hard to imagine a computing device without the communication capability. Operators will have to release pricing plans to accommodate such an evolution.

Nurturing ecosystems - fight for the developer mindshare

It is good to be a developer in 2010. The success of many players goes through developersville. The love fest won’t last forever though, it will depend on how vibrant the various ecosystems become and how profitable individual developer shops are over the course of time. One thing Microsoft did very well with the windows empire was to create a web of partners and developers who were incented to use the tools and develop for the platform. In a more fragmented world of mobile, things are a bit complicated. Developers don’t have time or the energy to go after the newest, shiniest toy, what matters in the end is the “cost” to develop, “reach/distribution” of the platform, and “potential” of the reach. Players who don’t consciously make an effort to make developers thrive in their ecosystem will see their developer efforts collapse like house of cards. While the media attention is squarely on iOS and Android, we are not heading down the duopoly path as the dynamics of the mobile ecosystem are significantly different from that of the PC. RIM, Nokia, Samsung and others will do well, the fight is over the relative rankings in the pecking order.

Shifts in the revenue sand dunes

By the end of 2010, the global ondeck revenues will be overtaken by the offdeck revenues. As the smartphone penetration grows, it is less likely that the user will purchase VAS from the operator. While the carrier gets a healthy access revenue of $15-40 or more/month, the VAS business is shrinking for many. Some operators are trying to extract some value but are likely to follow T-Mobile’s path and give up on the smartphone appstore eventually. On the featurephones and probably low-tier smartphones, operator do have a role to play but perhaps some of it can be outsourced to other appstore providers so that they can focus on higher-margin services. We are going to see a readjusting of the appstores again in the next 12-24 months with the weaker ones whittling away from the landscape.

New experiences - display, interaction and commerce

The man-machine interaction took a significant leap with the introduction of the iPhone. Now the touch-interface is embedded in our evolutionary genes. There is significant work going into accomplishing more with less friction with the help of new interfaces and experiences that can like trying out a new outfit in front of a mirror - at home or in the store and with a flick of finger - choose the color, purchase it, and get it shipped. The amount of time it takes to “accomplish any given task” is going to reduce dramatically. With the help of contextual sensors, extreme personalization, and brainiac software, we will take automation to a new level. This will lead to new experiences that will enable more commerce, social interaction and participation, and general awareness and intelligence about every day things. Examples like Kinect, Augmented Reality, Projection displays are just the start of the decade when the display and interaction paradigms will be fundamentally redefined.

Reallocation of revenues - winners and losers are decided in reallocation

If we take a look at the spending habits of the US consumers on “access and communication services” which includes the spending on Telephone, Cable, Internet, and Cell phones, the total “access” spending over the course of last decade has been consistently around 4% of the total personal income per capita. However, the share of each of the services has been changing steadily. Telephone used to have 65% share of the spending but is going to be below 30% by end of 2010. Others have been climbing at the expense of telephone revenues, especially the cellphones which since 2007 command the highest share. So, the overall spending has stayed constant while there has been significant reallocation of spending. Similarly, within cell phone services, data has gone from being less than 1% of the overall revenues to over 35% in 2010 and is going to be more than 50% of the overall revenue mix by early 2013. Mobile operators will need to figure out how to manage these reallocation undercurrents and maintain the overall life time value of the customer. It will come from re-architecting of the business and technology practices as well through the introduction of new services.

Mobile takes off in Verticals

Mobile has become a full-fledged computing platform and other industries are taking notice. There is significant work going on in the mHealth, mRetail, mCommerce, mEducation, mEnergy, and others to keep things busy for the next few years. There are some really innovative startups focused on making use of the computing power that the device affords and turn them into full-fledged medical instruments. Add the communication bit and you can see the revolution happening in front of your eyes. The impact on saving lives and quality of health care will be tremendous - worldwide. The regulators and the legacy players will need to keep up. As we mentioned before, the NFC wave is coming and if all goes well, it will change the retail experience. Stay tuned.

(Mobile) World is flat

There is a significant readjusting of players going on right now with some of the Asian players flexing their muscles for dominant share of the market. Competition is driving more M&A, the gravity of the mobile data world is slowly shifting from Japan and Korea to the US with Verizon overtaking the long time leader NTT DoCoMo in terms of quarterly mobile data revenues. India’s Bharti became the number 5 operator after completing the acquisition of Zain. On the device front, Samsung and LG have been ferocious in their pursuit of marketshare and have been rewarded well by their performance esp. in the North American market. HTC has undergone metamorphosis and has become a serious competitor. Many non-traditional brands like Dell, Garmin, HP, Cisco are also flexing their muscles in the space that has become the computing battleground. On the infrastructure front, ZTE and Huawei are going to make life difficult for some of the players. We can expect the big “M&As” to continue as the industry consolidates around the top 3 players in different markets and sectors. The local skirmishes will spill into the global arena. North American operators have been curiously silent on the global front. Being the most lucrative mobile market probably has something to do with it  but we can expect some of the bigger players to go shopping in the coming days.

Regulatory Excursions

The much-awaited national broadband plan was finally unveiled earlier this year. The current FCC has done a good job of engaging the industry and informing the citizens, better than its predecessors. It is also taking a deeper interest in setting up guidelines for the industry. The Comcast ruling was a setback but FCC is moving ahead with its plans. It will be interesting to see the execution details and how things pan out over the course of this decade. Similarly, regulatory agencies in other nations are acutely aware of the role broadband plays in nations economy and competitiveness and what they need to do keep their country on track. The mad scramble for more spectrum is underway. FTC is also keeping a close eye on the mobile industry for privacy related violations. If someone has any doubts of how much regulators are likely to get involved in this matter should read through the settlement between the FTC and Twitter.

Scenario Analysis - more changes in the next 10 years than in the previous 100

Despite all the commotion, the excitement, and the turbulence in the ecosystem, the trajectory of the winners and losers is not set. Like the Chaos theory, a lot depends on how the dynamic elements of the mobile universe effect and react to changes.  Players will do well to have strategies in place per scenario so they can adapt quickly and keep the mother ship in the right direction. We can expect more changes in the next 10 years than in the previous 100. The triggers for various scenarios will vary - regulatory, competitive, technology, business model, consumer adoption, economic - each of these can have an impact on how a trend becomes the fact of life.

To discuss all these trends and more, we are putting together a unique Mobile Future Forward Executive Summit and are fortunate to have the company of some of the sharpest minds in the industry, folks who both have the vision to shape the evolution and the authority to invest billions of dollars this decade to make things happen. Hope to see you in Seattle on Sept 8th.

First 25 readers to use the discount code FUTBOL get $200 off the regular price.

Abhi Ingle, VP, AT&T; Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio; Anand Chandrasekhar, SVP & GM, Intel; Bob Azzi, SVP - Network, Sprint Nextel; Chamath Palihapitiya, VP - Growth, Mobile, Intl, Facebook; Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype; Danny Bowman,President, Sprint Nextel; David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures; Dr. Boris Nikolic, Sr. Program Officer, Global Health & Discovery, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow & Director, User Experience, Intel; Dr. Greg Brandenberg,CEO, Columbia Basin Health Association; Dr. Sailesh Chutani, CEO, Mobisante; Dr. Suzanne Clough, Chief Medical Officer, WellDoc; Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T; Hank Skorny, SVP, Media Mobile Cloud Computing, Real Networks; Jack Kennedy, EVP, News Corp; Joe Sims, Lead Partner - Digital Convergence , Booz & Company; Jon Stross, VP & GM - Babycenter, Johnson & Johnson; Ken Denman, CEO, Openwave; Krishna Vedati, SVP & GM - Mobile, AT&T Interactive; Lirong Shi, President, ZTE; Louis Gump, VP Mobile, CNN; Mario Queiroz, VP - Product Management - Android, Google; Mark Selby, VP, Nokia; Matt Bross,CTO and Vice Chairman, Huawei; Michael Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer, Clearwire;Neville Ray, Chief Network Officer, T-Mobile ; Omar Javaid, CEO, BBDO; Paul Palmieri, Founder and CEO, Millennial Media; Rob Glaser, Chairman, Real Networks and Partner, Accel;Sean Cai, VP - Advanced Technology, ZTE; Stephen David, Former CIO, Proctor & Gamble;Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo; Takayuki Hoshuyama, CEO D2 Communications; Tony Lewis, VP, Verizon; Wim Sweldens, President, Alcatel-Lucent

Each panel discussion will involve luminaries/experts on specific topics, for e.g.

M2M/Internet of Things

Danny Bowman, President, Sprint

Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio

Tony Lewis, VP, Verizon Wireless

Mark Selby, VP, Nokia

Evolution of Communication/ Engagement

Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP - Mobile, Facebook

Mario Queiroz, VP - Android, Google

David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures

The size of the panel will be small and the time duration long so we can delve deep into the issues and questions. For more details, please visit http://www.mobilefutureforward.com

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

Announcing Mobile Future Forward Executive Summit June 14, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Event, Mobile Future, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

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You have seen some hints of the project that we have been working on for sometime. We are proud to announce “Mobile Future Forward” Executive summit to be held in Seattle on Sept 8th, 2010.

Registration is Open Now. Early Bird expires June 30th 2010.

MFF is a gathering of some of the most brilliant minds in the mobile industry. The goal is to look at how mobile is likely to evolve over the course of this decade. We couldn’t have done this without the tremendous support of our excellent sponsors who are paving the way in their respective segments.

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The speaker list includes the who’s who of the mobile industry:

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Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T

Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo,

Mike Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer, Clearwire

Louis Gump, VP Mobile, CNN,

Paul Palmieri, Founder and CEO, Millennial Media

Dr. Sailesh Chutani, CEO, Mobisante

Abhi Ingle, VP, AT&T Wireless

Ken Denman, CEO, Openwave

Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio

Stephen David, Former CIO, Proctor & Gamble

Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow, User Experience, Intel

Hank Skorny, SVP, Real Networks

Jon Stross, VP & GM - Babycenter, Johnson & Johnson

Dr. Suzanne Sysko, Chief Medical Officer, WellDoc

Dr. Boris Nikolic, Sr. Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Krishna Vedati, SVP & GM - Mobile, AT&T Interactive

Christopher Dean, Chief Strategy Officer, Skype

Russ McGuire, VP, Sprint Nextel

Jack Kennedy, EVP, News Corp

David Weiden, General Partner, Khosla Ventures

Anand Chandrasekhar, SVP and GM, Intel

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP Growth/Mobile, Facebook

Rob Glaser, Chairman, Real Networks

Wim Sweldens, President – Wireless Division, Alcatel Lucent

Takayuki Hoshuyama, CEO, D2 Communications

Neville Ray, SVP, T-Mobile

Bob Azzi, SVP—Networks, Sprint Nextel

Mario Queiroz, VP—Android, Google

Matt Bross, Global CTO, Huawei

We will be covering the following topics in detail:

You can read more about what you can expect at the executive summit in the following whitepaper.

Mobile Future Forward Paper

I hope to see you there.

Chetan Sharma

Chief Curator

Mobile Future Forward

New Research Paper: Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era 2nd Edition June 2, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, Federal, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Patent Strategies, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

 

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Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era

The year 2010 will be remembered for many milestones. One of them clearly will be the significant migration from voice to data services and revenues. In Q1 2010, the number three operator in Japan - Softbank Mobile reported 55% of its service revenues coming from data thus becoming the first major operator to have more revenues from data services than from voice. Over the course of the rest of the year, other operators like NTT DoCoMo will take this data leap as well.

US, the nation with the most mobile data service revenues went past $14 Billion in quarterly mobile data revenues and is expected to go past the $50 Billion mark for the year in 2010. The subscription penetration in the US is well over 94% and the mobile data usage is on the rise.

While the rate of new subscription addition has slowed down, the pace of innovation is going very strong. Just like Japan, other major economies will slowly transition from a voice-centric universe to the one where voice is just another application on the all-IP network. Operators will make 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 week, and the consumer’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.

With everything moving to digital, information repositories across the web are almost doubling every day moving rapidly to the yottabyte (YB) era. The information, the desire and the capability to consume oodles of data is increasing exponentially. As a result the traffic – both wireline and wireless is also increasing at a predictably fast rate.

In 2009, the global yearly mobile data traffic reached a new milestone – 1 Exabyte (EB) or 1 Million Terabytes (TB). In the US, the data traffic is growing so fast that we are likely to exceed the 1 EB barrier in 2010. By 2016-17, the global yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 1 Zettabyte (ZB) or 1000 Exabytes. How does the industry go about managing such growth in a profitable manner when the cost of supporting such traffic will increase exponentially? Will the move to LTE offer some respite?

This paper is the second edition of the “Managing Profits and Growth in the Yottabyte Era” research paper. It discusses the research and analysis done by Chetan Sharma Consulting on the growth of mobile data traffic in over 45 countries (with a detailed look at the US market) and how the ecosystem can apply some strategies to manage growth and profits.

We have built detailed models to estimate the rise of mobile data network traffic and to understand as to how the margin per bit can be maintained. Over the course of the last year, we have worked with several global players in the ecosystem to deploy effective strategies and solutions. This paper also draws from this experience on the ground.

Download Paper

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

Mobile Video Advertising May 28, 2010

Posted by chetan in : Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic , 3 comments

Rhythm New Media released some interesting stats today and I had a chance to catch-up with Ujjal Kohli, CEO of Rhythm about the various trends.

What’s fascinating is that mobile video usage is spread throughout the day, meaning mobile plays a nice compliment to regular TV.

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Wi-Fi plays a crucial role

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People are watching quite a bit of video

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and most interestingly, the completion rate is significantly high (compared to TV)

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Source: All data Copyright, 2010, Rhythm New Media

As the devices get better and better, video consumption is growing because the quality of content is increasing manifold. This leads to higher viewing time which leads to higher ad dollars, you see where i am going. Thanks to Rhythm for making the data available.

US Wireless Data Market Update – Q1 2010 May 16, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Wallet, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patents, Privacy, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 5 comments

US Wireless Data Market Update – Q1 2010

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq12010.htm

Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 5% Q/Q and 22% Y/Y to exceed $12.5B in mobile data service revenues in Q1 2010 - on track so far to our initial estimate of $54B for the year.

In a significant milestone that went largely unnoticed, Verizon Wireless edged past NTT DoCoMo - the decade old leader in mobile data revenues to become the biggest mobile data operator by data revenues. Helped by its 93M subscriber base and high ARPU, the Verizon juggernaut is steamrolling. Rest of the 3 top US operators also occupy leading positions amongst the top 10 global mobile data operators.

The US subscription penetration was approximately 94% at the end of Q1 2010. If we take out the demographics of 5 yrs and younger, the mobile penetration is now past 100%. While the traditional net-adds have been slowing, the “connected device” segment is picking up so much so that both AT&T and Verizon added more connected devices than postpaid subs in Q1 2010. Given the slow postpaid growth in, operators are fiercely competing in prepaid, enterprise, connected devices, and M2M segments.

Data traffic continued to increase across all networks. US has become ground zero for mobile broadband consumption and data traffic management evolution. While it lags Japan and Korea in 3G penetration by a distance, due to higher penetration of smartphones and datacards, the consumption is much higher than its Asian counterparts. Given that it is also becoming the largest deployment base for HSPA+, LTE and WiMAX, most of the cutting edge research in terms of data management and experimentation with policy, regulations, strategy, and business models is taking place in the networks of the US operators and keenly watched by players across the global ecosystem.

We are starting to see the inevitable changes in broadband pricing starting with T-Mobile and MetroPCS. Over the course of this year, we are likely to see newer pricing models that tie usage to pricing and add multiple devices to a single data bucket.

The fabled iPad landed in the market and it is a winner. Apple’s latest gizmo has created a new user experience category of casual and couch computing that will foster growth in the connected device space. Kids of the now generation are growing with connected electronics that is fundamentally altering the behaviors and expectations of interaction, communication, consumption, and monetization.

Privacy brouhaha has been brewing for some time and the polity class is getting interested in stepping in. If people are really serious about tackling privacy, OEMs and carriers should build a physical/soft privacy button on the device with 3-5 levels (just like for the ringer volume) that allows users to open/close privacy across all applications and services with the touch of a button. All apps and services should adhere to the principle via APIs. The other mistake companies make about privacy is by treating everyone the same. Privacy is about the perception of control and transparency. If it is given back to the consumer, they are likely to engage more and have a more positive impact on revenue streams that are likely to flow.

In an another global milestone, Softbank became the first major operator to have more service revenues from data services than voice services. In Q1 2010, 55% of its service revenues were attributed to data services. (While Smart and Globe have been reporting 50%+ revenues from data services for a long time, the total revenues are not at scale with the leading global operators. Incidentally, for the first time in many years, the data revenue % slipped below 50% for the both operators in Q1). Based on current projections, US is likely to cross the 50% data revenue threshold in late 2012 or early 2013. NTT DoCoMo is next in line to cross the 50% mark this year.

All this has setup an absolutely fascinating period in the communication/computing industry. Convergence is everywhere and is leading to fundamental reset of the value chains and ecosystems. We are going to be discussing the ins and outs of how the industry is going to evolve in the next decade in our Sept 8th event – Mobile Future Forward which is bringing leading industry thought-leaders, inventors, and doers to brainstorm, discuss, and debate what’s next. Hope you can join the discussion.

What to expect in the coming months?

The pace of product introduction is accelerating with each quarter. Devices of all shapes and sizes are coming into the market. Players are having to re-evaluate their businesses and long-term strategies. Several new impressive handsets got introduced during the course of 1H of 2010. iPad finally launched and even the next generation iPhone walked into a bar.

Microsoft announced its comeback with the W7 launch though the time it is taking to launch is making partners nervous. The change in UI was refreshing though the inability for the OEMs to differentiate is not winning friends. HP acquired Palm in attempt to become relevant again in the mobile device space. Some other players missed out in buying an attractive IP portfolio. It has been an action packed 2010 thus far and we can expect more of the same for the remainder of the year.

2010 has also been active on the regulatory front as the national broadband plan was unveiled in March (our thoughts on the plan). The Comcast ruling delivered a blow to the FCC and any directives or policies will hardly have any impact on the ecosystem in the short-term.

With the looming spectrum shortage, regulatory bodies can have a significant impact on the competitiveness of a nation. Many countries in South America have imposed unnecessary spectrum caps. Others are behind in sorting out their spectrum allocations. The industry and regulators need to work hand-in-hand to make progress beyond speeches and paperwork.

To start planning for 4G, 5G, and beyond, US should think about rolling a 50 year broadband plan. While more spectrum is always helpful, will we have all the spectrum we need in 2050? or do we need to invent new technologies and business models that use spectrum more wisely? This topic will keep the industry occupied for some time to come. (Former FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin headlined our Mobile Breakfast Series event in March and discussed the Spectrum Crises. Our June 10th event is bringing CEOs of some of the most innovative mobile startups to discuss the ecosystem)

2010 is also the year of network rollouts. T-Mobile has been rolling out HSPA+ at an impressive rate, Clearwire has been expanding the network so fast that it has become the biggest construction company in the US, Verizon is betting big on LTE and AT&T has been adding backhaul, upgrading to HSPA+ and planning for LTE all at once. Even the smaller carriers like MetroPCS are looking for competitive advantage with quicker LTE launch and beat others by carrying the first LTE smartphone. (We will be releasing the next edition of our “State of the “Mobile” Broadband Nation” paper later this year)

As we had mentioned last year, the mobile data traffic kept on growing disproportional to the revenues. A series of solutions have come into the market from players big and small. We will be releasing the second edition of our in-depth research paper on data growth - "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era" later this month.

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 Q1 2010 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 7, 16)

ARPU (Slides 8-11)

Subscribers (Slides 12-14)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Open

Data Traffic (Slide 15)

· As we noted in our last update, the data traffic is now significantly more than the voice traffic. The good news is that there are several solutions that available and are being invented that will help manage the data growth. The question is how fast will the operators deploy some of these solutions.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Aug 2010. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Sept 2010.

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.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Global Mobile Data Market Update 2009 March 31, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Storage, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments

Download PPT (2.6 MB)

Download PDF (3.6 MB)

Executive Summary

The Global Wireless Markets continued to grow rapidly especially in India and China where the carriers (combined) are adding almost 30M new subscriptions every month. Amongst the two, India is outpacing China 2:1. China touched 750M subscriptions while India crossed 525M by the end of 2009. With 4.6B subscriptions, the global subscriptions penetration was above 68%.

The global mobile data revenues reached $220B and mobile data now contributes 26% of the overall global mobile service revenues.

As expected, the overall global mobile revenues stayed pretty flat for the year at around $1.1 trillion as many regions were hit by the recession and the competition pushed the ARPU lower for many operators. While the countries like US, Japan, China, and India showed very little signs of pullback, most of Europe and the developing world experienced a decline in overall service revenues in 2009. All the major markets have their data contribution percentages above 10% now.

For some of the leading operators, data is now contributing almost 50% of the overall revenues. However, the increase in data ARPU is not completely offsetting the drop in voice ARPU for most operators. NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the carrier ranking in terms of the mobile data service revenues, Verizon Wireless which became #2 replacing China Mobile and is slowly edging towards the #1 spot and is likely to overtake DoCoMo within the next few quarters.

Though 4G as a standard hasn’t been defined yet, the discussions around LTE and WiMAX deployments grew intense. Telia Sonera became the first operator to commercially launch LTE. At CTIA, Sprint/HTC became the first players to launch a WiMAX smartphone and MetroPCS/Samsung took the honors for the LTE smartphone.

2009 also marked the year when the global data traffic (monthly) exceeded the global voice traffic. In the US, the yearly mobile data traffic exceeded the voice traffic for the first time.

We are also entering the phase of global mega-mergers in telecom. Bharti Airtel of India just acquired Kuwait-based Zain Group to become the 5th largest telecom group in the world (at the end of 2009, it was #9). There are now 14 telecom groups with 100M or more subscriptions. While China Mobile’s ARPU is 1/5th of its western counterparts, it operates its business at higher margin, around 51%. There are a number of global players mainly in Europe and Asia who have mastered the art of running lean operations and if they have good bank balance they are going to go shopping in the days ahead.

From the revenue perspective, the $50 billion revenue club is more exclusive with China Mobile, Vodafone, AT&T Mobility, and Verizon Wireless as its sole members.

As we sit at the cusp of the iPad era, there is a bigger transformation taking place and that is of the connected consumer electronic devices (CEDs). Few years from now, most popular CEDs will have connectivity. We are also approaching the start of phase where pricing of access will start to morph - we will see the introduction of family data plans (something we have been advocating for some time), ability to connect multiple devices to the same GB plan, more granular use plans (per session/day/week/mo/yr etc, roll-over GBs anyone?). As the number of connected devices/consumer increases, we will start worrying about Average Margin Per User (AMPU) or Average Margin Per Connection (AMPC) because ARPU won’t quite capture the dynamics of the industry.

Exciting times indeed.

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 with added insights from our work in various global markets.

Impact of Global Recession

  • Telecom in general fared better than other industries. In some regions, it hardly caused a tremor. However, in most nations, the impact was felt by the operators. Amongst the 40 major operators we studied, SK Telecom, 3 Australia, KTF, T-Mobile Netherlands, Rogers, Softbank Japan, Singtel, Vodafone Italy, T-Mobile Germany, 3 Sweden, Telstra, China Unicom, and Vodafone Germany experienced increase in both the data ARPU and the overall ARPU during 2009. Some of increase was due to the fluctuation in international currencies e.g. Korea.

  • Looking at the data at a country level, most nations noted a decline in overall ARPU. Only Venezuela, Pakistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Australia, and Poland showed positive increase in ARPU since 2008.

  • Rule of Three is kicking in most markets with smaller players having to consider the M&A option to remain viable. T-Mobile/Orange, Bharti/Zain tie-ups are just the start of that process. We are likely to see many international mergers in 2010 and beyond as power in the mobile ecosystem self-adjusts.

  • 5 new players joined the 100M subscriptions club. The new members are: Bharti Airtel (India), MTN Group (South Africa), Orascom (Egypt), Etisalat (UAE), and MTS (Russia). The top 9 telecom groups in the world are: China Mobile, Vodafone, Telefonica, America Movil, Telenor, T-Mobile, China Unicom, TeliaSonera, and Orange.

Service Revenues

  • US extended its lead over Japan as the most valuable mobile data market in service revenue with US adding $44.56B vs. $32.5B for Japan in 2009. China with $20.3B was ranked number 3. US registered the highest growth amongst the top 3 with over 40% increase from EOY 2008 levels followed by Japan and China.
  • The top 10 nations by service revenues are: US, China, Japan, France, Italy, UK, Germany, Brazil, Spain, and India.
  • The top 10 nations by data service revenues are: US, Japan, China, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Spain, and Korea.
  • NTT DoCoMo continues to dominate the wireless data revenues rankings with over $16B in data services revenue in 2009. Almost 46% of its overall revenue now comes from data services. DoCoMo also crossed the 95% 3G mark.
  • NTT DoCoMo was followed by Verizon Wireless, China Mobile, AT&T, KDDI, Sprint Nextel, Softbank Mobile, T-Mobile USA, O2 UK, and China Unicom to round up the top 10 operators by wireless data service revenues.
  • Each of the top 5 carriers exceeded $10B in yearly mobile data service revenues in 2009
  • Data revenues for the top 10 operators now account for almost 43% of the global mobile data revenues.
  • The biggest jump in data revenues was experienced by Verizon, Softbank, and AT&T. DoCoMo saw an 11% increase for the year.
  • Most of the operators in the developed nations are contemplating future strategies to boost data revenues such that the decline in voice revenues is at least compensated for. There are very few operators who have experienced increase in overall ARPU.
  • China reported approximately $20.3B in data revenues for 2009 and the percentage contribution from data services is around 32%, data ARPU is around $3.2. For India, data ARPU continues to stay below $0.50 as most of the new adds are voice only subscribers and there is continued price pressure in the market.
  • China Mobile remains the most valuable telecom operator with over $195B in market cap. It is followed by Vodafone at around $122B. Telecom groups in mature markets are under enormous pressure to either come up with a global expansion strategy or accelerate their existing plans.
  • In 2009, SMS’s vice like grip on data revenues continues 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%.
  • NTT DoCoMo has been at the cutting edge of the mobile data evolution by creating new markets. They are exploring new technologies and social experiments ahead of almost anybody else in the market. Our long history with the Japanese and Korean markets has taught us that while the individual strategies in each market will differ, one should study the trends, technologies, and ecosystem dynamics in these markets to get a sense of what’s coming.

· From the revenue perspective, the $50 billion revenue club has limited membership with China Mobile, Vodafone, AT&T Mobility, and Verizon Wireless as its sole members.

ARPU

  • Most of the major operators around the world have double digit percentage contribution to their overall ARPU from data services. Operators like DoCoMo, and Softbank are over 46%. KDDI, 3 Australia, 3 Italy, 3 UK, Vodafone UK, O2 UK, Telstra, and 3 Sweden exceeded 35% and many others are on the verge of crossing the 30% mark.
  • NTT DoCoMo reported the highest data ARPU for the year while Rogers took away the honors for the highest overall ARPU. Other notable percentage increases in ARPU were from 3 Italy, SK Telecom, KTF, T-Mobile Germany, 3 Sweden, and T-Mobile Austria. The Japanese operators saw a decline in ARPU by 3%.
  • The biggest percentage contribution by data ARPU has been consistently registered (since mid 2002) by two Philippines carriers – Smart Communications and Globe Telecom with over 53% (or $2) contribution coming from the data services.
  • Softbank of Japan looks set to be the first major operator (outside of Philippines) with more revenues coming from data services than voice.

Mobile Data Traffic

  • We have been calling attention to the tremendous increase in mobile data traffic for some time. The discussion has hit mainstream and many operators are scrambling to nail-down their short-term and long-term strategies to manage the data traffic growth in their networks. See our paper on the subject "Managing growth and profits in the Yottabyte era." The recommendations discussed in the paper are slowly being adopted by various vendors and operators worldwide.
  • The global mobile data traffic exceeded an Exabyte for the first time in 2009. In fact, the data usage is growing so fast that this year, the two territories experiencing the most growth - North America and Western Europe are both going to exceed an Exabyte in mobile data traffic.
  • 2009 also marked the year when the global data traffic (monthly) exceeded the global voice traffic.
  • For many of the superphone heavy operators, devices like iPhone and Android account for more than 50% of their total data traffic.
  • 2010 will mark the first year when the total number of mobile broadband connections will exceed the total number of fixed broadband connections.

For more mobile data traffic analysis, please stay tuned for the second edition of our Yottabyte research

Subscriptions

  • India continues to be the hottest market on the planet in terms of net-adds with (again) a world record-setting month in Jan 2010 with 19.9 million net adds. To give you a perspective, this is almost 1.5 times  the number of subscribers US added in the whole year. It is like adding a Canadian wireless market every month. For the year 2009, India added 177 million subs vs. 106 million for China. Combined, one year of growth in these two market is equivalent to the size of the third largest market - the US, to date. Making money on the net-adds is a different proposition all together (more discussion on the international market in our global market update later this month)
  • Thanks to the explosive growth in the emerging markets, the global mobile market went past 4.6B in 2009 and is likely to cross the 5B mark in 2010. The global mobile subscriptions now represent over 68% of human population on planet earth.
  • China crossed the 700M subscription mark in July while India’s total went past 500 in Nov. In the meantime, US crossed the 90% subscriptions mark in 2009.
  • In the last 10 years, the growth patterns in the mobile industry have completely reversed. In 1998, the developed world accounted for 76% of the subscriber base, in 2008; the percentages have flipped with developing world now accounting for 76% of the subscriber base and are likely to increase to 85% by 2018.
  • The top 10 nations by subscriptions are: China, India, US, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, Pakistan and Italy.
  • China Mobile became the first operator (and likely to be the only one for a very long time) to cross the 500M mark. It remains the #1 carrier in terms of the total number of subscriptions followed by Vodafone. Telefonica, América Móvil, Telenor, T-Mobile, China Unicom, TeliaSonera, Orange, and Bharti Airtel round up the top 10 largest telecom groups in the world.

Mobile Apps

· The total number of app downloads in 2009 reached 7 billion resulting in approximately $4.1B in revenues 12% of which was from mobile advertising.

· The number of non-carrier appstores jumped to 38 from 8 in the previous year.

· While Asia had the highest percentage of the download share, North America had the highest share of the apps revenue accounting for over 50% of the total revenue.

· The paid ASP in 2009 was approximately $1.9 and the advertising revenue generated from the free applications was approximately $0.09/user/app/year

For a more detailed analysis of the mobile apps market, please see our paper “Sizing the Global Mobile Apps Market”

Others

  • Messaging still accounts for the lion-share of data service 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 gradually chipped away the share from messaging. Alternate devices with wholesale cellular agreements are also flooding the market. In Japan, Mobile Commerce is expected to do much better than Mobile Advertising. 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.
  • Nokia dominated the year as usual but the revenue share is shrinking and so is the lucrative smartphone share. Apple, RIM, and Google are relentlessly attacking the top tier while Samsung, LG, and others giving a tough fight for the bottom tier. We see a new middle tier emerging that has the form factor of a featurephone and functionality of a smartphone. The smartphone category is getting further split into regular qwerty smartphones like Blackberry and the touch and full browser based superphones like the iPhone and Droid.
  • The year was dominated by several blockbuster device launches like the iPhone 3GS.
  • Next few years will be big for infrastructure providers as many countries both developed and developing get into upgrading their infrastructure.
  • Willcom, the small Japanese carrier that started the flat-rate unlimited phenomenon filed for bankruptcy last month.
  • In the US, the increase in messaging volume catapulted US as the number one texting nation by messages/user/month going past the long-time leader Philippines.
  • Deployment of 3.5G technologies is in full swing. However, it is the discussion of 4G that is occupying the headlines, even though 4G hasn’t been fully defined yet and the current candidates for 4G are nowhere near the performance goals of 4G (150Mbps/50+Mbps). Many larger operators have laid out their plans for deploying LTE starting this year.
  • We are also seeing regulators playing an active role in making the markets competitive and attractive in the long-term.

· The velocity with which the smartphones are being introduced into the market esp. the western markets, one wonders if in five years, we will be using the moniker to describe devices and if the "dumbness" in the device market will be practically eliminated. Led by Apple’s Appstore success, significant investments are pouring into the appstore world. In parallel, the debate over apps vs. mobile web is intensifying. The implications of the transition will be significant on the ecosystem on many levels.

2010 will be a critical year on many fronts. As usual, we will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in May 2010. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be released in Sept 2010.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

US Wireless Data Market Update: Q4 2009 and 2009 March 2, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Location Based Services, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Smart Phones, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q4 2009 and 2009

Download PPT | PDF

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdate2009.htm

Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 5% Q/Q and 24% Y/Y to exceed $11.8B in mobile data service revenues and thus exceeded $10B for each of the four quarters in 2009. For the calendar year 2009, the overall mobile data revenues for the US market grew 29% ending at $44 billion for the year (1% shy of our $44.5 billion estimate). For the calendar year 2010, we expect a 20% increase in mobile data service revenues accounting for over $53 billion in service revenues.

Verizon Wireless edged past China Mobile to become the second biggest mobile data operator by revenues.

The US subscription penetration was approximately 92% at the end of 2009. If we take out the demographics of 5 yrs and younger, the mobile penetration is 99%.

The messaging volume increased 7% from last quarter catapulting US as the number one texting nation by messages/user/month going past the long-time leader Philippines.

For the first time in the history of the US wireless industry, the data traffic exceeded voice traffic for the full calendar year. With almost 400 terabytes of data traffic, it exceeded voice traffic by a significant margin. We expect that the ratio between the two traffic sources is going to double in 2010.

Apple continued its iTunes juggernaut and if measured by billing relationships (of course not all accounts are mobile) Apple is  now the 10th largest mobile operator in the world.

Q4 2009 reported a 5.9% increase in GDP compared to the 3.5% increase in Q3 when the recession technically ended. While the overall economy is sputtering towards growth, wireless industry in the US remains vibrant as is evident by the increase in revenues and net-adds which jumped more than 5 million for the first time in 2 years.

What to expect in the coming months?

Christmas quarter generally yields best results of the year. Though the US mobile industry came out pretty unscathed from the recession, it will benefit from the improving economy. As such we expect the US mobile data service revenues to gain 20% to reach $53 billion in 2010. Mobile data will continue to be the engine of growth for the ecosystem providing at least 33% of the overall service revenues by the end of 2010.

The furious cycle of device releases is accelerating and one wonders if the longevity of each device is starting to shrink as even the hit devices like Droid and Nexus One are not allowed enough room to fully capitalize on their initial momentum. The app economy has been expanding as well. Part strategic, part hysteria, everyone is jumping into the pool to tap into the app river to pull in some revenues or use it more strategically to sell more devices, services, or advertising. (Stay tuned for more research on the subject in the coming days)

Microsoft is attempting a comeback with its 7 series devices though the delay in handset release as well as the lack of backward compatibility gives enough time for competitors to plan their moves. We are glad to see the industry going past the “PC like icons” for mobile phones (something we have advocating for more than 10 years, most recently in our paper “The Untapped Mobile Data Opportunity.” This will enhance user experience and help in extracting true value out of the mobile devices.

From the various announcements this year, we can expect an action packed 2010. However, it will be also an year of shakeouts with several key M&A transactions that will winnow down the competitive landscape in many segments.

Q1 2010 will also be important from the regulatory point of view with the national broadband plan being unveiled later this month. With the looming spectrum shortage, regulatory bodies can have a significant impact on the competitiveness of a nation. For example, in India, regulators haven’t been able to get their acts together for the past 3-4 years and its citizens continue to suffer from 2G. Similarly, many countries in South America have imposed unnecessary spectrum caps. The industry and regulators need to work hand-in-hand to make progress beyond speeches and paperwork.

To start planning for 4G, 5G, and beyond, US should think about rolling a 50 year broadband plan. While more spectrum is always helpful, will we have all the spectrum we need in 2050? or do we need to invent new technologies and business models that use spectrum more wisely? This topic will keep the industry occupied for some time to come. (Former FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin will be headlining our Mobile Breakfast Series event on March 10th to discuss the Spectrum Crises).

2010 will also be the year of network expansion with HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE all coming into play in the US. As we had anticipated last year, the mobile data traffic kept on growing disproportional to the revenues. At the end of 2009, the US mobile data traffic was almost 400 petabytes, up 193% from 2008. To truly tackle the problem head-on, industry will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to manage their traffic more effectively. We discussed mobile data traffic in much more detail in our popular paper "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era." We will be issuing an update later this quarter so stay tuned.

It is also good to see the mobile industry expanding into vertical segments like Health and Retail. More discussion to come on these topics.

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 Q4 2009 and 2009 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 8, 17)

ARPU (Slides 9-12)

Subscribers (Slides 13-15)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Policy and Regulations

Open

Data Traffic (Slide 16)

· For the first time in the history of the US wireless industry, the data traffic exceeded voice traffic for the whole calendar year. With almost 400 terabytes of data traffic, it exceeded voice traffic by a significant margin. We expect that the ratio between the two traffic sources is going to double in 2010.

Misc.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in May 2010. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in March 2010.

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.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

New Whitepaper: Mobile VoIP – Approaching the Tipping Point February 17, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, India, Intellectual Property, Japan Wireless Market, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Patent Strategy, Privacy, Smart Phones, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, VoIP, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

clip_image002

http://www.chetansharma.com/mobilevoip.htm

Mobile VoIP - Approaching the Tipping Point

Sponsored by Skype

This paper is a collaboration with Ajit Jaokar (FutureText) in London

Over the course of the last decade, mobile devices have become the most ubiquitous consumer electronic devices ever invented. Even in the poorest of the nations, mobile phones have evolved from being a luxury to an indispensible necessity. The paradigm of communication itself has undergone a significant transformation from just voice to multimode interaction. The trend is also discernable in the revenue numbers from the advanced mobile markets where voice revenue per user have been declining over the course of the last decade while most of the growth is coming from mobile data services. Mobile data services have evolved significantly from simple text messaging to multimode communication involving text, VoIP (voice over IP), video, and other forms of messaging and social networking interactions.

As we head into the next decade, the competitive landscape is going to change from year to year and sometimes even quarter to quarter. For major service providers, competition is no longer just from an operator who provides voice and data services but any company that captures the communication value chain. It is no longer sufficient to rely on voice revenues but providers need to think communications in a much more holistic form. Once the transport layer becomes all-IP in a given network, voice is nothing but another application that will work and interact with other applications in tandem often in real-time. The fear of cannibalization are unwarranted as our research shows that by offering consumers comprehensive services, the lifetime value of customers can be increased, churn can be reduced, and the overall value proposition of the operator increases tremendously.

The forces of technology, business models, consumer expectations, regulatory regimes, competition, and collaboration will help define the communication landscape of the next  ten years. This paper will take a look at the evolution of the Internet, mobile broadband, and mobile communication and how consumer behavior and expectations have changed. Next, the emergence and the role of VoIP is discussed in further detail before we delve into the intricacies of communication economics to dispel some myths and layout the framework for how operators should approach the new communications world.

Given the embrace by major tier-one operators, we believe that mobile VoIP is on the verge of becoming an integral part of the communications framework. This acceptance represents a tipping point in the evolution of mobile VoIP. The ecosystem participants who embrace and collaborate to provide a holistic and comprehensive communication solutions stand to benefit the most.

Download Paper (pdf)

2010 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey January 3, 2010

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Gaming, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Partnership, Patent Strategies, Patent Strategy, Patents, Privacy, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Speech Recognition, Storage, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Uncategorized, Unified Messaging, Usability, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 6 comments

2010 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey

http://www.chetansharma.com/MobilePredictions2010.htm

Mobile Predictions Survey (pdf)

Mobile Predictions Survey (ppt)

First things first. From all of us at Chetan Sharma Consulting, we wish you and yours a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010. Thanks to all who participated in our 2010 Mobile Predictions Annual Survey. We have found it is the best way to think about the trends coming our way.

Before we dive into the survey results, let’s do a quick wrap-up of the year that was. Well, since we  just completed one heck of a mobile decade, let’s do a quick jog down the memory lane.

The Last Decade: 2000-2009

Each new decade brings its own consumer and technology trends. During the 2000s mobile cemented its place in the global society fabric, the use of mobility became addictive and pervasive, to be without mobile seemed a curse and innovation blossomed and took user expectations to new heights.

decadeglobal

From a pure statistical point of view, the global mobile subscription penetration grew from 12% in 2000 to approximately 68% in 2009 - phenomenal by any measure. The overall revenues grew over 400%, the data revenue grew 32,600% and the total subscriptions grew 563%. NTT DoCoMo paved the way with the i-mode launch in 1999 and they were the operator to emulate throughout the last decade, leading every single year in data revenues, in new application and service revenue sources, and in innovation and risk taking. They tried to export the success to other regions with little reward but DoCoMo clearly led the industry in taking mobile devices where they have never gone before.

China and India were late to the party but during the second half of the decade caught up with the western world and eventually surpassed all nations becoming number one and two nations by subscriptions respectively. In 2006, China Mobile became the most valuable operator passing Vodafone.

Mobile devices went significant transformation as well. From the early Bluetooth, camera, and music phones to the iPhones, the Storms, and the Androids, the industry was transformed by the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. While Bluetooth, sleek designs, camera phone defined the first half of the decade, the second half was all about the applications and the mobile web. While Nokia dominated the entire decade in terms of the sales and profits, having missed the touch revolution, it leaves the decade a bit battered and a bit behind playing catch-up to the newcomers who profoundly disturbed the status quo.

decadeoem

Razr carried Motorola through 2006 when its global share peaked but was left to reinvent itself during the second half. It seems to have redeemed itself with the successful launch of Droid and upcoming Android devices. While many in the industry predicted RIM’s demise, the company has only gotten stronger and is looking good for the 2010s. The emergence of Samsung and LG as strong players in the mobile ecosystem was also a big story of the decade with Samsung increasing its share by 380% and LG by 575% becoming the number 2 and 3 players respectively.

While Microsoft’s Windows Mobile had an early start and the enterprise market share, it lost its way through several missteps and is on dialysis as we enter the new decade. One shouldn’t count WM out though but there is a lot of work to be done before it can capture the imagination of the ecosystem which has been sequestered away by iPhone and Android.

While many new application areas were introduced during 2000s, none was able to displace SMS as the leading app category by usage and revenues. However, it’s relative share has started to come down especially in North America and Western Europe.

As data usage grew, so did the data traffic bringing many data networks to their knees. We expect the data traffic consumption to only accelerate. Many people are underestimating the growth rates (as they did previously) and the strain the increase in consumption will put on the unprepared networks. Projector phones will take media  consumption to a new level. Data management is going to be big business in the 2010s.

Overall, the mobile industry became a trillion dollar industry in 2008 and the data revenues are increasing in almost all regions. Voice is being commoditized at fast pace and that has put the traditional economics and ecosystem wealth distribution in topsy-turvy.

decadeus

The US market also experienced tremendous growth with mobile data service revenues climbing 21,327% and becoming a mainstay in the mobile economy. In 2008 it crossed Japan as the most valuable mobile data market. US was late in adopting SMS but caught fire once American Idol started using it and even played a good role in the 2008 Presidential election in showcasing the power of mobile. Verizon started the decade being the number one operator and after trading places with Cingular and ATT grabbed the title back in 2009 (after the Alltel acquisition) to become the most dominant carrier in North America. Many smaller players competed by being innovative with Cincinnati Bell launching the fist UMA device, Sprint the first mobile eReader, and TMO launched the hotspot business which has now become an essential component of an operator strategy going forward.

Mobile is also replacing landline at a much faster pace than expected and within the first half of the new decade, we will have majority of the users using mobile vs. landline. Just like the last decade, this one starts with a new standard deployment of LTE that will keep operators and vendors busy throughout the decade. However, a lot of the developing markets will still be deploying 3G during the first half of the decade.

Infrastructure providers suffered the most in the decade bookended by the two recessions. Consolidation of giants (Alcatel Lucent, Nokia Siemens), bankruptcies of the famous (Nortel), and uprising of the upstarts (Huawei) pretty much defined the decade for the segment. Ericsson and Huawei enter the new decade from a strong position and looking to dominate the global markets.

The last decade was also marked by some prominent IP battles such as RIM vs. NTP, Qualcomm vs. Broadcom, Sony Ericsson vs. Samsung, Upaid vs. Satyam etc. (disclaimer: we worked on some of these cases and testified as an expert)

Here is our “subjective” list of movers and shakers of the last decade

2000-2009

2010-2019

Operator of the Decade

NTT DoCoMo

DCM led the way in almost all new category of apps and services. Its data service revenue was highest in each of the last 10 years

DCM will continue to lead along with KDDI and SKT. However, it might be the carriers with tremendous scale who will have the calling cards in the new decade. Watch for China Mobile, Vodafone/Verizon, Telefonica, Orange, Bharti, Unicom, Singtel

OEM of the Decade

Nokia

Nokia dominated in sales and revenues in each of the 10 years and while the last couple of years took some shine off its glorious past, the company nevertheless came out ahead

RIM, Apple, Nokia, Samsung

Smartphone OEM of the Decade

Apple

Smartphones as we know them were introduced by RIM but Apple defined the category and the subsequent ecosystem

This space will be very competitive with Apple still the gold standard to beat

Infrastructure Provider of the Decade

Ericsson

Its prime rivals struggled to stay afloat while Ericsson grabbed most of the revenues from infrastructure contracts and is very well positioned for the next decade

Ericsson is joined by Huawei as the two top infrastructure provider with Huawei giving tough competition for LTE contracts. ZTE and other Chinese infrastructure providers will also replace some of the incumbents

Nation that led in mobile data

Japan

This is a no brainer. Japan led with Korea a close second. Finland, UK also impressed

US, China, and India are well positioned to make an impression but most likely during the second half. Japan will still be a major player

Device of the decade

iPhone followed by Razr

iPhone impressed with form and function while Razr with its global sales making it a top selling device of all times

The field might get more crowded as all OEMs focusing on the smartphone category. However, OEMs who also focus on the 90% of the market w/o smartphones might win the top prize

The year 2009

Apple continued to dominate the headlines for the third straight year - whether it was the launch of 3GS or the upcoming introduction of the fabled tablet. Google too kept the ecosystem active. It has executed on its mobile strategy with brilliant acumen though causing significant consternation amongst its partners who it needs to be successful. It has been often misunderstood by competitors, regulators, and partners. Often, they have focused on Google’s tactics vs. its strategy. Look for these two players to be very aggressive as they try to fight for the mantle and the mindshare.

While Nokia leads the OEM space by a good distance, its momentum in the smartphone space left a lot of question marks. Motorola made a credible comeback with Cliq and Droid. Samsung and LG continued to innovate and expanded on their share of shipments and revenues.

India outpaced China in net-adds and crossed 500M though it is still quite behind China’s 750M. The M&A and the consolidation process became active in Asia with several of the big regional operators looking to flex muscles in the international markets. After several delays, China started deploying 3G while India again fumbled and postponed its 3G auction.

US mobile data market continued its pace in 2009 with each of the four quarters exceeding $10B in data service revenues. The gap between the top two operators and the rest grew to be the biggest in the decade and the industry weathered the recession with ease. There was a clear shift towards prepaid especially for Sprint, T-Mobile, and the tier 2/3 operators.

2009 was also defined by significant activity on the application front. With Facebook eclipsing 100M subscribers and Appstore exceeding 2.5B downloads, sky is the limit.

The year also saw an unprecedented growth in mobile data consumption. As we had predicted, for some of the networks, the growth proved to be a double-edged sword. Many in the industry are banking on LTE to help relieve the pain but will be surprised that depending solely on the upgrade strategy will not be enough. Declaring spectrum as a looming crisis, FCC also started tinkering with the mobile industry and the broadband plan.

Japan exceeded 90% in 3G penetration while US subscriptions ventured into the 90% territory. Most of western Europe is way past 130%.

All in all, a terrific year considering that we went through one of the worst recessions in a generation. As we bid goodbye to the last decade, Nexus One and iTablet only serve to whet our appetite of what’s to come.

On a personal note, we started our consulting practice this last decade as we were coming out of the bubble recession and have been fortunate to work with some of the brightest brains and companies in the global ecosystem. We also had a chance to work on some key initiatives that impacted the ecosystem in profound ways. Many thanks to our clients, colleagues, friends, and readers. We will be involved with many new initiatives over the next decade and are looking forward to the conversations through the research notes, books, speeches, panels, whitepapers, blog posts, facebook and twitter feeds, and more.

Thanks and Happy New Year. May the upcoming decade leave you happier, healthier, and more successful than the previous one.

As we eluded to earlier, 2010 will be a pretty eventful year from several perspectives: business models, user experience and expectations, ecosystem posturing, disruption, and friction. How are things going to shape up? What will be hot and what will fade into oblivion? How will competition shape up the new sub-segments?

We put some of the questions to our colleagues in the industry. We were able to glean some valuable insights from their choices and comments. This survey is different from some of the others in the sense that it includes industry movers and shakers participation. Executives and insiders (n=150) from leading mobile companies across the value chain and around the world opined to help us see what 2010 might bring.

11 names were randomly drawn for 3 special prizes. The winners are:

  1. Claire Boonstra, Cofounder, Layar- INQMobile 3G Chat device

  2. Michael Libes, CTO, GroundTruth - Open Mobile Book

  3. Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile, Facebook - Open Mobile Book

  4. Subba Rao, CEO, TataDoCoMo - Open Mobile Book

  5. Saumil Gandhi, Product Manager, Microsoft - Open Mobile Book

  6. Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Connected Planet - Open Mobile Book

  7. Mike Vanderwoude, VP & GM, Cincinnati Bell Wireless - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  8. Pinney Colton, VP, GfK - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  9. Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Ventures - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  10. Laura Marriott, President - 2010 Mobile Almanac

  11. Asha Vellaikal, Director, Orange - 2010 Mobile Almanac

Thanks to INQMobile and my friend Ajit Jaokar for contributing the prize gifts.

Despite conventional wisdom, what will not happen in 2010?

There were many. Sampling - Verizon iPhone, Microsoft Phone, Sprint will not be bought, Femtocells won’t gain traction, RCS will not happen, Google will not enter handset market directly, iPhone won’t lose steam, Android won’t bring coherence, NFC won’t take off, WiMAX won’t disappear, Nokia won’t bounce back, Palm won’t die, “Year of Mobile” noise won’t subside, carriers won’t be delegated as dumb-pipes.

It is hard to cover the mobile industry in 20 questions. As pointed out by our panelists, there are a number of other issues and opportunities that will help shape our ecosystem - monetization of social networks, augmented reality, the fight for mobile advertising dollars, continued impact of globalization, security and privacy, NFC, IMS, VoIP, enterprise apps beyond email, battery improvements, new interaction modalities, health risks of RF radiation, Mobile 3.0, LTE, single purpose devices, 3G in India, Bada, app vs web, developer turmoil, featurephones, smart grids, M2M, Chrome, etc.

However, be rest assured, we will be tracking these and much more throughout the year and sharing them through various channels.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed. We will be calling on you again next year. We are clearly living in "interesting times" with never a dull moment in our dynamic industry. It has been a terrific year for us here at Chetan Sharma Consulting and we are looking forward to the next decade and seeing many of you along the way.

We hope you enjoyed gaining from the collective wisdom. Your feedback is always welcome.

Be well, Do Cool Work, Stay in touch.

Thanks.

With warm wishes,

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Now onto the 2010 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey Results

The panel comprised of movers and shakers from around the world

survey2_10 survey1_10

What will be the biggest stories of 2010?

survey3_10

Jan seems to be the Google Phone vs. Apple Tablet matchup. Our panel though voted for the continued growth in mobile data as the top story.

Have we recovered from the recession? (Please select one)

survey4_10

Majority thought we are out of it though some might still feel the pinch

Who will be the most open player in the mobile ecosystem in 2010? (Please select one)

survey5_10

Google has done a great job at maintaining its image as THE open leader

Will Android handset sales exceed iPhone’s in 2010? (Please select one)

survey6_10

Despite Androids coming in droves, iPhone will still be the king of the hill

When will we see tiered pricing plans for smartphones in the US from tier 1 operators? (Please select one)

survey7_10

There are indications that this might happen sooner rather than later

What will happen to the mobile prepaid subscriber base in the US? (Please select one)

survey8_10

Prepaid made a strong comeback in 2009 and a good majority thought that the trend is likely to continue

By how much will the mobile advertising ad-spend increase in 2010? (Please select one)

survey9_10

Mobile Advertising was the only advertising segment with positive growth last year so it is no surprise that folks expect it to more than double this year

What will be the impact of the FCC’s national broadband plan on the mobile industry in 2010? (Please select one)

survey10_10

Not much is expected from the various rulings that might come this year with most expecting the courts to have the final word.

Who will be the mobile comeback story of 2010?

survey12_10

Having bet its future on Android, Motorola was voted as the comeback kid of 2010

What will be the impact of Google Phone?

survey13_10

It’s pretty clear, Google and Apple are duking it out for the developer mindshare. Google wins in either case.

Which areas will feel the most impact from FCC?

 survey11_10

Net neutrality is the area where they will have the most impact

Which solutions will gain the most traction for managing mobile data broadband consumption?

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While only a holistic approach can provide complete relief, tiered mobile data pricing might have the most impact

When will the carrier-branded appstores lose steam? (Please select one)

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Most expect carrier-branded appstores to be a thing of the past in 2010

What will help mobile cloud computing gain traction in 2010?

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Mobile cloud computing is gaining steam and the reason is storage and media

What will be the most successful non-mobile-phone category in 2010? (Please select one)

survey17_10

Netbooks seem to be the strongest category followed by eReaders, Tablet, and M2M

What will be the breakthrough category in mobile in 2010? (Please select one)

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Mobile Advertising and Mobile Payments share the top honors

By the end of 2010, which will have more subscribers? (Please select one)

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LTE might have the momentum but WiMAX has the subscribers

How will Netbooks do through the operator channel? (Please select one)

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No major impact from the operator channel

Which standards will gain traction?

survey21_10

No major impact from the standards

What mode of mobile payments will get any traction in North America and Western Europe in 2010?

survey22_10

The category will expand in different ways with more items being charged on the operator bill

New Whitepaper: The Untapped Mobile Data Opportunity December 16, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, General, IP, IP Strategy, India, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Networks, Smart Phones, Speech Recognition, Storage, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

UntappedMobile_s

http://www.chetansharma.com/untappedmobiledataopportunity.htm

The Untapped Mobile Data Opportunity

Sponsored by INQMobile

The last two years in the global mobile market have been truly sensational. Over 1 billion new subscriptions added, over 2 billion new devices sold, and over $300 billion in mobile data revenues. The number of new iconic devices each quarter is on the rise, the consumer engagement is at an all time high and the new startups and entrepreneurs are brimming with ideas and new products. Devices like the iPhone, Storm, Hero, INQ1, Mytouch, Cliq, Droid, N97 and others have captured the imagination of the media like never before. The smartphones or the integrated devices now account for approximately 9% of the global market. However, what’s often lost in the smartphone euphoria is the remaining 91% of the market and the significant opportunity of data-enabling these customers.

Operators who have focused on data services as their core service have benefited with high data Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). As we quickly transition into the hyper growth phase of mobile data services, players who are designing affordable devices and services with "mobile data" in mind are the ones who will benefit from a higher uptick in adoption and sustainable consumer loyalty. However, as operators have migrated from 2G to 3G, many have missed an opportunity to customize or introduce new services that take advantage of devices being mobile, interactive, and always available.

Traditionally, there has been a big gulf between the functionality of featurephones and the smartphones; however, there is an emerging category of devices that will provide the functionality of a smartphone for the price of a feature phone. Though the average selling price or the ASP of the smartphone has been dropping, the price is still high for a significant majority of the global subscriber base. Consumers who are looking for a sub $50 device still want to the access applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Google search, and make VoIP calls, etc.

In this paper, we will look at the opportunity to attract the 91% of the global user base into the mobile data ecosystem. We will quantify the opportunity, examine what this opportunity means to the mobile value chain specifically to the mobile operators and discuss the success factors to accelerate the migration of non-active data users into the data realm.

Download Paper (660 KB)

Roundup of second Mobile Breakfast Series event – Mobile Broadband December 6, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, AORTA, ARPU, CTIA, Carriers, Indian Wireless Market, Infrastructure, Location Based Services, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Networks, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

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The second Mobile Breakfast Series Event was held at the picturesque Harbor Club in downtown Seattle on Dec 4th. The topic was “The Impact and Evolution of Mobile Broadband.” The lineup of speakers was awesome with who’s who of the mobile broadband world opining about the state of the industry, the opportunities, and challenges posed by the growth in mobile broadband:

Neville Ray, Senior Vice President of Engineering, T-Mobile USA

Hank Skorny, Senior Vice President, Media Cloud Computing and Services, Real Networks

Ken Denman, CEO, Openwave

Dow Draper, Vice President, Technology Partnerships, Clearwire

Charlie Martin, Wireless CTO, Huawei Technologies

Stacey Higginbotham, Senior Writer, GigaOM (moderator)

First of all, a big thanks to our generous sponsors: Motricity, Openwave, and Clearwire of supporting the event series. I am happy to report that Motricity has signed up to be the sponsor for the entire 2010 season. So, thanks Jennifer Moranz and Brendan Benzing. Thanks also to Ken Denman and Lupe Downing at Openwave, and Jeff Giard and Scott Richardson at Clearwire for their support. Thanks also to our esteemed panelists who have taken the time out of their busy schedules to be here with us this morning, esp. Ken, Charlie, and Stacey who had to hop on a plane to be at the event. Also, thanks to GigaOM and Moconews for being such terrific media sponsors.

As our operators continue to enhance the infrastructure both in the US as well as abroad, it is creating new opportunities and challenges for the industry. As you know, our friends at the FCC are also very consumed by the task of creating a National Broadband Policy and mobile is a key component of that proposal.

It was one of the best discussions on mobile broadband I have heard all year long. Panelists were really frank and insightful.

The salient points of the 90 minute discussions were:

Also, Tricia Duryee does a good summary of the discussion at Moconews

Our next event is looking to be another sellout affair with tech titan Rob Glaser, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Real Networks headlining the event. Be sure to register early to avoid any sellout blues. Date: March 10, 2010.

Until then, a very happy new year to you and yours and have a terrific holiday season that helps you prepare for a successful 2010.

US Mobile Data Market Update Q3 2009 November 9, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carnival of Mobilists, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, IP Strategy, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Messaging, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Networks, Partnership, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Usability, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 5 comments

 

Download PPT | PDF

Executive Summary

The US wireless data market grew 5% Q/Q and 27% Y/Y to exceed $11.3B in mobile data service revenues and thus exceeded $10B for the third straight quarter. As we mentioned in our Q1 2009 research note, given the strong growth in data revenues and overall service revenues, the worst is over for the US mobile industry. The US market touched 25% penetration of smartphones in Q3 2009, a new milestone.

While the flailing economy hit certain segments of the wireless ecosystem hard esp. the infrastructure and handset segments, consumers haven’t really pulled back on the mobile data overall spending. Additionally, the CAPEX spending has stayed strong in 2009 given the activity around 3G/4G deployments and trials. As expected, there was an increase of prepaid subscribers which dropped the overall revenues for some of the carriers. The US subscription penetration was approximately 91.3% at the end of Q3 2009.

As we mentioned in our last three research notes 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 two quarters along with better than expected Q1-3 2009 earnings from corporations, the mobile industry is back on track. While the structural flaws in various industry segments remain, the outlook for the Q4 2009 and 2010 remains bright and we are expecting the overall data revenues to now increase by over 30% compared to 2008 with a record-setting Q4.

Q3 2009 reported a 3.5% increase in GDP compared to the 1% decline in Q2 and 6.4% decline in Q1, thus marking the official (technical) end of the recession. 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. Note: For a detailed discussion of the US wireless industry in recessions, please see 2008 US Wireless Market Update.

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 though retreated from June is at a healthy 47.7.

What to expect in the coming months?

The high unemployment has slowed the growth in the data card segment but the smartphone consumers have more than picked up the slack. Also, as expected, there was a shift from postpaid to prepaid in some user segments. For example, for T-Mobile, prepaid accounts for almost 20% of their customer base compared to 17% from an year ago. The fight for the low-end customer is also having an impact on the traditional prepaid players and the price pressure is reducing their margins. It is quite likely that 50-60% of such consumers don’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 elsewhere.

In fact, the churning in the last few quarters has distanced the top two (AT&T and Verizon) and the next two (Sprint and T-Mobile) by the biggest gap in the history of the industry. By the end of 2009, this gap will rise to 36% compared to 28% at the end of 2008 and 21% in 2002.The "Rest" category has essentially diminished from the market dropping from a dominant 43% market share in 2002 to 12% in 2009.

The trend of the landline replacement by Mobile continued in Q3 2009, now reaching almost 25%. In the third quarter, messaging growth slowed down. The messaging volume was up only 4% and messaging revenues were up 3% QoQ. With its expanding 3G network, T-Mobile like its peers has started to benefit from smartphone penetration reaching to 6% of its subscriber base. Overall, The increased use of smartphones and datacards is putting a pressure on carrier networks and accelerating their strategies to deploy LTE/WiMAX. We estimate that by end of 2009, the US mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 400 petabytes, up 193% from 2008. To truly tackle the problem head-on, operators will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to manage their traffic more effectively. We discuss mobile data traffic in much more detail in our paper "Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era." We will have more on this subject in the coming days (You can also read our RCR Wireless columns on the subject - Defining Mobile Broadband and Solutions for the Broadband World).

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 Q3 2009 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues (Slides 11-12, 17, 19)

ARPU (Slides 13-15)

Subscribers (Slides 16-18)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Policy and Regulations

· Q3 also marked the start of an intense FCC scrutiny of the wireless industry. In outlining the four key principles of a) looming crisis of spectrum shortage b) removal of red tape c) enforce net-neutrality and d) open Internet, things have already started to change in the US Wireless Industry. Google has played the game of Armadaian tactics with Kasparovian acumen. The impact of the codified principles (and the subsequent court battles) can have a significant impact on not only the US wireless industry but the global ecosystem as well.

Open

· While there has been much consternation around the word "Open," one is hard pressed to find a consistent definition what it might actually mean. One could provide access to one API and declare themselves an open heretic while others could end up opening up their business more than needed and yet be accused of being closed. Clearly, the degree to openness is in the eye of the recipient. There is no black and white, just shades of grey and that’s where the battles will be won and lost. In the end, it is all about "access" to the market and the "freedom" to earn profits. Rest is noise.

· It is worth debating as to what can be mandated to be open, do the rules apply just to the operators and OEMs, or we should extend the courtesy to software platforms, search indices, aggregated user profiles, billing engines, etc.

· It is also becoming obvious that we need to redefine the device categories. Featurephones are no longer dumb terminals, many empower the users with smartphone functionality. Devices like iPhone, Droid, Pre no longer fit the smartphone stereotype, they need a separate category for themselves - appphones, ddhmvcs (data devices that happen to make voice calls), platformdevices, mobilecomputers, geniusdevices, agilechips, astuteconceirge, you get the point.

Misc.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb 2009. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Mar 2010.

Watch out for our end of the year survey and commentary on global wireless markets and trends for 2010.

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.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment Roundup 2009 October 12, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Devices, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Federal, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Microsoft Mobile, Middleware, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Networks, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 3 comments

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CTIA San Diego Roundup

San Diego is a casual town so this year’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. FCC’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 – 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:

  1. 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")
  2. Removing red tape to allow wireless carriers to build their network faster, for example, the work with cell towers
  3. Codify and enforce net-neutrality policies
  4. 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 “Defining Mobile Broadband” 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.

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Each year our small community in Issaquah, WA celebrates a festival “Salmon Days.” 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 Microsoft’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.

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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:

It was great catching-up with friends and colleagues. Looking forward to the next one.

Roundup of the first Mobile Breakfast Series event September 29, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Users, Privacy, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

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The views from the venue are stunning both at the crack of dawn and as the sun lit the valley

The first Mobile Breakfast Series Event was held at the beautiful Newcastle Golf Club on Sept 22nd with our elite panelists - Marianne Marck - SVP, BlueNile, Michael Mace, Principal, Rubicon Consulting, Mike Woodward, VP, AT&T, and Jim Hudak, VP & GM, INQMobile. Before I get into what was discussed, would like to thanks the founding sponsors - Openwave, Motricity, and Clearwire who stepped in right away to make the Mobile Breakfast Series possible. Also, Jeff Giard and Brendan Benzing helped shape the event along the way. Finally, thanks to the extended pacific northwest mobile community for such a tremendous response. Hope you guys keep coming back for more.

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The diversity and the experience on the panel was apparent. Mike Woodward has a long history with ATT and has been managing the broad device portfolio for the company. Michael Mace with Rubicon worked with Palm and Apple and is a veteran of the mobile industry cycles, Marianne Marck with BlueNile has seen the growth of mobile digital content like few have and brought in the perspective from the developer and content provider point of view. Finally, Jim Hudak has worked in a wide variety of roles and is now with INQMobile which won the best handset award in Barcelona. This gave us a good forum to explore the various aspects of our evolving industry (Moconews coverage here).

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The salient points of the 90 minute discussions were:

· The panel thought the big opportunities are in:

o Specialized devices, though there is little VC investment in the area, there is an opportunity to build something unique by verticals or segments

o Network Optimization and Management, given the tremendous growth in mobile data usage, more technologies are needed to effectively manage the growth

o Besides voice and data, location based services represent the biggest opportunity in mobile

o Empower Impulse buys, embed technology to make it simple for users to buy

o Taking advantage of the mobile browser economy. Companies like Skyfire are expanding the capabilities of the browser that enables better application reach and penetration

· ATT has experienced 5000% growth in mobile data usage in the last 12 quarters. And it is good for business but the future growth needs to be more effectively managed.

· Mobile data is clearly taking off but are there limits to this growth? Will everyone pay $50/month extra? It is probably not for everyone.

· LTE brings down cost of delivering the bits. If EDGE costs $1 to deliver one MB, then HSPA costs 13c and LTE is around 3c. There is significant motivation to move towards LTE.

· While the total number of apps downloaded have exceeded 2B, it is not clear if there are new companies emerging out of the app economy. Developers are still struggling to make ends meet and if we don’t cultivate the ecosystem, very few will be left at the end of the day

· For developers, browser provides the broadest reach but for some apps the richness of the feature/functionality is only available in client apps. Over the long run, browser platform is preferable and is likely to win out.

· Carrier billing is essential for the app economy to survive. Not everyone has iTunes interface for their appstores.

· Femtocells/WiFi play an important role in offloading traffic and providing consumers with better bandwidth and coverage options.

· 75% of ATT’s devices are converged devices. Significant uptick in the last few quarters. Data consumption has been growing as a result. ATT is investing $18B or so in upgrading the network as well.

· Mobile OS becomes less relevant over time.

· Cloud Computing is important for mobile to help with network management, storage, and user experience.

· Microsoft was a freakish event in history, something similar is not going to happen in the mobile space and the fragmentation is not going to go away any time soon.

· Developers like to get access to UI APIs that give them more control over the user experience. Access to location

· Mobile advertising promising but not there yet. Metrics and standards issues need to be worked out.

· TV is a passive experience, Online is less passive, and Mobile is interactive experience. We should be designing apps and services keeping that in mind.

· Handset has become a software business. Companies not having a concrete s/w strategy will be exposed

· We live in interesting times

If you liked the first event, you would love the next one.

The topic is Mobile Broadband and we are getting some of the top notch experts to discuss the very important evolution of the global mobile broadband markets. Date: Dec 4th.

Our good friend Om Malik has kindly consented to moderate the event. Current confirmed panelists are Scott Richardson, former Chief Strategy Officer and now Strategic Advisor at Clearwire and Ken Denman, CEO of Openwave. More panelists to be confirmed in the coming days. Registration is open at http://mobilebreakfastseries.com/

Finally, we would love to hear your feedback. Please help us shape the event and make it your own. How can we make it better? What topics would you like to see discussed? Which speakers would like to hear from? What venues work best for you, etc? Answers will help shape the future events so every bit of feedback is much appreciated. If you could please take a short survey and let us know what you thought of the event as well any guidance on future events, that will be great.

Thanks and see you on Dec 4th.

New WhitePaper: Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era July 14, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Indian Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, MVNO, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Networks, Smart Phones, Speaking Engagements, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 2 comments

Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era

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Executive Summary

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 consumer’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.

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As everything moves to digital, information repositories across the web are almost doubling every day moving rapidly to the yottabyte (YB) era. The information and the desire and the capability to consume oodles of data is increasing exponentially. As a result the traffic – 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 – 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.

Download Paper

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.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

US Wireless Data Market Update - Q1 2009 May 11, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, 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

Download PPT (2.8MB)

Download PDF (1.8MB)

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq109.htm

Executive Summary

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 haven’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

Note: For a detailed discussion of the US wireless industry in recessions, please see 2008 US Wireless Market Update.

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 don’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)

ARPU (Slides 12-15)

Subscribers (Slides 16-17)

Applications and Services

Handsets

Misc.

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.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Global Wireless Data Market Update - 2008 April 28, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, Carriers, European Wireless Market, India, Indian Wireless Market, International Trade, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Microsoft Mobile, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Usability, Mobile Users, Mobile Wallet, Music Player, Networks, Strategy, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

Global Wireless Data Market Update - 2008

Download PPT (1.9MB)

Download PDF (3.1MB)

http://www.chetansharma.com/globalmarketupdate2008.htm

Executive Summary

The Global Wireless Markets continued to grow rapidly especially in India and China where the carriers (together) are adding over 20M new subscriptions every month. India crossed the 400M subscription mark this month while China whizzed past 650M in Q109. Overall, the global subscriptions penetration edged past 60%. During 2008, revenues further tilted towards data services, increasing 17% from 2007 EOY. The overall global mobile revenues (including equipment) for the year reached the 1 Trillion dollar landmark in 2008, with over $830 billion attributed to services revenues. Data revenues now account for over 20% of the global service revenues.

For some leading operators, data is now contributing close to 40% of the overall revenues. However increase in data ARPU is not completely offsetting the drop in voice ARPU for most operators. From the true and tested SMS messaging to the new services such as Mobile Advertising, Social Networking, Commerce, Mobile Wallet, and others, different services helped in adding billions to the revenues generated in 2008. The US market expanded its lead over Japan in mobile data service revenues for the year and is unlikely to cede ground in the months to come.

The success of Apple’s Appstore (1B downloads in 9M across 37M devices is not surprising but still impressive, look for another growth bump in July) led to appstore mania across the ecosystem with every major player in the ecosystem holding ambitions for Applesque success leading to healthy competition and hopefully more innovation. Google’s Android also kept the industry chatter on the high with a slew of new devices slated for 2009. The ease of use of applications developed for G1 on the new devices will define Android’s role in the ecosystem. If successful, it will decimate the weaker ones from the equation going forward.

WiMAX vs. LTE debate took over the EV-DO vs. WCDMA talk and while the majority of the industry is consolidating around LTE; open-platform advocates are watching the arrival of WiMAX with great interest. However, the down economy is delaying the establishment of Clearwire’s nationwide footprint.

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 with added insights from our work in various global markets.

Service Revenues

ARPU

Subscriptions

Others

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Ps. We will have an update on the impact of recession on the mobile industry in our US Q109 update next month.

CTIA 2009 Roundup April 6, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, BRIC, CTIA, Carriers, Devices, European Wireless Market, IP, Indian Wireless Market, International Trade, 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, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 1 comment so far

CTIA 2009 Roundup

http://www.chetansharma.com/ctia2009.htm

CTIA 2009 in Pictures

ctia09

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 didn’t plaster the town with massive banners, taxis weren’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 – 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 “Monetizing Mobile User Generated Content” 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.

Broadband

4G – My first 4G project was back in 2003 for NTT DoCoMo when 4G didn’t even enter industry’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 don’t expect the “real” 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 – 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)

Mobile Health

Keynotes – 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. Topol’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 Qualcomm’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 “txt messages.” Come on folks, move into the 21st century!

Health – For the first time, there was significant discussion on mobile’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 – I have been working on appstores for so long that I can’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 developer’s attention and resources are finite. There aren’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). Apple’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 – 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 – Zeebo being launched in Brazil and nuvifone being launched by Garmin and Asus.

Mobile Social Networking – 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 “The Facebook Effect” but 3 books in a year were too many so taking a break for now. (Maybe the next one will be “The Twitter Effect”).

Mobile Advertising – 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 hasn’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

Green is the new black – 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.

Miscellaneous

Devices – 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 – GD900 with transparent keypad. Samsung’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 – Each CTIA, I love spending time in DoCoMo’s booth as they are always at the cutting edge of what’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 – SpinVox, Most Hip – LG

Interesting companies – 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 – My 3G connection was so good throughout the show that I didn’t need to lug my laptop around and did 100% of my communications for 3 days from my phone.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks

Chetan

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.