Only 18 months ago I was sitting with a mobile operator who told me that their main objective was to ensure that data services didn’t cannibalize their voice revenue. The reason was simple – data service generated about 5% of the revenue.
Fast forward to June 2010. The sun is shining and the World Cup in soccer is just about to kick off, but more importantly Softbank Mobile Japan announces that data services for the first time overtook voice services in revenue in Q1! Japan has always paved the way for mobile data services, and NTT DoCoMo are expected to follow suit during the second half of this year.
But Japan is no different (at least not in this specific sense) than any other country in the western world. I see mobile operators here in Sweden spend the majority of their TV advertising on promoting mobile data services. It has become a differentiator and a big enough piece of the pie. We will shadow Japan and probably break the 50% marker in 2011 in many cases. Mobile data is a $50bn+ business this year in the US according to Chetan Sharma Consulting; a significant business where minor changes and adjustments in packaging, pricing, production cost and ARPU has a substantial impact on bottom-line. Read more [+]