Mobile 4th Wave: Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars

Mobile 4th Wave: Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars

Mobile 4th Wave: Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars

– A Mobile Future Forward Research Paper

This paper is the second in series of the Mobile 4th Wave research papers. It is a required reading for Mobile Future Forward participants.



Mobile is the most dynamic and exciting industry in the world today. It is playing a central role in driving the global economy across multiple dimensions. The speed with which the break-neck innovations are being introduced will make Captain Kirk and crew proud. We are on the verge of reaching an incredible milestone – when there be more cellular subscriptions than humans on earth. We are already beyond 10 billion connections worldwide and mobile is driving the business and human case for the rapid evolution and adoption.

Mobile has become the most critical tool to enhance productivity and drive human ingenuity and technological growth.

Indeed, we are entering the golden age of mobile.

Amidst the change, the ecosystem itself is undergoing a significant transition. As the tectonic plates shift, the revenue opportunities are shifting from voice, messaging, and access to the 4th revenue curve of mobile opportunities. The shift towards this curve is expanding the base of players who are going to participate, connect with the consumers, and vies for their pocketbook. While the progress of the past 20 years has been phenomenal, the “connect and mobilize everything” characteristic of the next revenue curve is going to define the industry itself while determining the new winners and losers for consumer’s mindshare.

The revenue generated on the fourth curve is going to be massive but much more distributed than previous curve. It will end up being a multi-trillion dollar market in a matter of a decade – growing much faster and scaling much higher heights than previous revenue curves.

This paper is the continuation of the discussion we started with our first in the series of the 4th curve papers – “Operator’s dilemma (and opportunity): The Fourth Curve.” In this paper, we will take a look how various players are adapting to the opportunity curve, how the overall value chains and ecosystems are being aligned and who are the early leaders and contenders to become the “Digital Lifestyle Solution Providers.”

The first paper looked at the emergence and the impact of the 4th curve from an operator viewpoint. In this paper, we expand the discussion to the broader ecosystem and how some of the leading Internet players and startups are participating in the 4th revenue wave of mobile. We will also look at how some of the leading operators have positioned themselves as leaders and contenders.

It is very clear that mobile will continue to have a tremendous impact on the global GDP, vertical industries, and consumers’ expectations of how communication takes place. Mobile is already a $1.6 trillion industry. The past growth has been dominated by mostly voice but as we move into the next decade, the digital services will take the lion share of the industry revenues. The shift will cause a lot of disruption and unpredictable growth for many players. Players who are better prepared and can adapt quickly will be able to successfully participate in the evolution of the next trillion dollars.

This paper attempts to define the space that is fast evolving and will have a lasting impact for years to come.

Download paper (2MB, 40 pages)

Your feedback is always welcome.



We will be discussing a number of issues raised in this research paper at our annual mobile executive thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward on Sept 10th in Seattle. In fact, this is the first event of its kind focused on the changing dynamics of the ecosystem.