Sunday, May 10, 2009

ABI Research: Global mobile subscriber ARPU declined due to retarded economy

The retarded global economy resulted in the decline of average revenue per user (ARPU) for mobile operators in the fourth quarter of 2008 – says the ABI Research’s latest report on mobile subscriber ARPU. The ABI Research report – “Mobile Subscriber ARPU, Voice, Messaging and Data Traffic Market Data” – articulates that the global voice, messaging and data traffic, global mobile end-user ARPUs sunk between 5% and 15% year-over-year (YoY) between the fourth quarter of 2007 and 2008.

According to the ABI Research report, the decline in ARPU varied geographically. In Asia, particularly India and China, the decline in ARPU was more than 10 percent, in Europe the decline was between 5 and 8 percent. In South America, Brazil and a few other countries managed to maintain their YoY ARPU, while the ARPU declined in most of the other South American countries. The decline was not significant in the North American market, because of the growth in smartphones and resulting mobile data usage. The global decline in ARPU was mainly caused by slowed down economy and fall in revenue from voice traffic.

The ARPU decline was intense in Japan and Europe, where messaging and mobile Internet make up 38% and 25% to 30% of operator’s ARPU, respectively On the other hand, voice traffic grew between 2% and 10% depending on the market, but the revenue-to-minute ratio continued to decline.

The ABI Research report further says that another upshot of the global economic slowdown was strong decline in the demand for handsets. The pangs of strong decline in the demand for handsets were experienced by the mobile handset manufacturers like Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Some mobile subscribers abandoned extra services, such as text messaging or mobile e-mail, to reduce monthly costs, and some switched over to lower-cost prepaid providers like Boost Mobile, Leap, Virgin Mobile, and MetroPCS.

The ARPU remained unwavering in North America just because of consumers going for smartphones with mobile data plans. The sales of smartphones have in fact withstood the recession. The handsets, like Apple's iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry Storm, and the T-Mobile G1 have sold more than a million units.

According to ABI Research, the mobile Internet-related revenue surged between 15% and 25% year over year for the fourth quarter, and the trend is expected to grow as carriers are gearing up for 4G networks.
ABI Research is a marketing research firm based in New York. It focuses its researches on – Mobile Devices, Networks and Services, Telematics & Navigation, Digital Home, Wireless Connectivity, RFID, and Clean Telecoms.

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