2008 Global Mobile - Data and Content Markets

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Last updated: 20 Feb 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 183

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of mobile data and content. Information on a regional level is also provided for the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific. The report includes analyses, statistics, forecasts and trends. It provides a comprehensive insight into the progress of mobile data and examines some the issues impacting upon the operators and overall uptake of the services. In addition, the report provides information on mobile data infrastructure.  

Topics covered include:

·         Overview and analyses of the mobile data market;

·         Statistics and forecasts for key mobile content and services;

·         Mobile messaging services;

·         Mobile TV/video;

·         Mobile commerce and M-payments;

·         Telemetry and RFID;

·         Location Based Services (LBS) and GPS;

·         Mobile handsets;

·         Mobile data infrastructure;

·         Regional overview.


Researchers: Paul Budde, Lawrence Baker, Lucia Bibolini, Peter Evans, Phil Harpur, Kay Harris, Lisa Hulme-Jones, Paul Kwon, Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange, Kylie Wansink

Edition: 12th

Current Publication Date: February 2008

Next Publication Date; February 2009


Executive Summary

The mobile data sector offers enormous potential, reflected by the number of diverse players all vying for this market. Competition is increasing and there is some evidence that usage of mobile data content and services is starting to grow – albeit slowly.


In 2008 the mobile operators will continue to focus on IMS. This offers the potential to have interoperability of applications over various networks – a very powerful tool for telcos in their battle to maintain supremacy in the market. Mobile operators need to retain a competitive edge as mobile manufacturers and Internet Media companies (ie, Google) attempt to move into the mobile data space. Apple and Google have already set the cat among the pigeons; they are promoting phones that will make it much easier to access web-based services and, with Google’s proven advertising skills, this will almost certainly mean a lot of free services for the users. Google is also exploring mobile LBS; currently predicted as a mobile data growth area for 2008. For more information, see chapter 7.2.4, page 86.


While we acknowledge that there is huge potential for wireless data, mobility services and media rich content, both the business and technical fundamentals of the current marketplace are not conducive to significant growth in mobile content. As a result, voice will remain the killer application for mobile for the time being, with data services included as support services and niche market services. BuddeComm sees wireless broadband (4G or WiMAX) as the real solution required to unlock the mobile data sector. For more information, see chapter 1.1.1, page 1.


Even though the technology issues regarding the delivery of mobile data have not yet been resolved, operators continue to move forward with HSPA; many commercial rollouts of both HSUPA (uplink) and HSDPA (downlink) are either underway or planned for 2008. The question is, will HSPA ever reach its true mass market potential or will WiMAX or 4G take that position in 2010-2012? For more information, see chapter 2.2.1, page 33.


The most popular mobile data segment of all, SMS, is set to continue its growth in 2008 with estimates that over 2 trillion messages will be sent worldwide. This supports our claim that of the various new telecoms technologies and innovations over the last few decades, there can only be one conclusion drawn – the most popular services are usually communications-based – not entertainment, not information, but communications. We expect mobile messaging revenues to account for around $65-75 billion in 2008. However, while mobile messaging traffic volumes will increase, market saturation and increasing competition, which is affecting the mobile industry as a whole, is expected to slightly dampen down overall messaging revenue growth. For more information, see chapter 3.1.1, page 47.


The other data service in which mobile has been reasonably successful is the telemetry sector. This market is continuing to develop fast with the uptake of telemetry applications by healthcare facilities and the use of RFID based applications in the manufacturing and logistics industries.


Use of LBS, including GPS is also expected to continue during 2008 with LBS proving popular in North America due to services such as the Disney Family Locator. Car navigation systems are also increasing in popularity, particularly in Europe and the US. For more information, see chapter 7.2, page 83.


Banks and financial services sectors are beginning to pay great interest in mobile commerce, particularly m-payments and m-banking. Developments in contactless payments are continuing and in 2008 there are many trials of mobile payments taking place around the world. A major pilot is being conducted in Europe by O2 in the UK using NFC technology on mobile phones. Focus has also turned to the developing markets, where mobile phones are being viewed as an opportunity to reach the masses that would not otherwise use m-payment or m-banking services. For more information, see chapter 5.1.1, page 61.


The hype regarding mobile TV continues in 2008. However, the reality is that very few people are prepared to pay the prices that the operators are charging for the service. The current technologies – and, more importantly, its business models – don’t yet stack up. It may be a great engineering achievement, but where is the business model? Mobile video entertainment and communication services however certainly have a bright future – once the appropriate technology is in place. For more information, see chapter 4.1.1, page 55.


In order to support all of the emerging mobile services, we are now seeing the development of more user-friendly and interactive mobile devices. In spite of this, overall sales of mobile handsets worldwide are expected to level out in 2008. This is due to saturation in the developed markets balancing out the booming growth we have observed in developing regions. Mobile handset suppliers continue to have an uphill battle to increase revenues in the face of declining handset prices. In 2008 Nokia retains its position as leader of this sector in terms of market share. For more information, see chapter 8.1.1, page 90.


This report provides an insight and analysis into the trends and developments taking place in the mobile data and content sector. A global overview and analyses on the progress of mobile data is provided, as well as information on mobile data infrastructure. Statistics and forecasts on mobile content and services is included with a particular focus on messaging services, mobile TV/video, m-commerce/m-payments and telemetry including RFID, LBS and GPS. Information at a regional level for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific is also incorporated.


Key highlights:

·         In the wake of the popularity of HSDPA, currently over 25 HSUPA networks have been commercially launched in 20 countries around the world.

·         Today more than 40 mobile operators worldwide are developing mobile IM services for personal use and in late 2007 personal mobile IM became available in Asia.

·         In 2008 it is predicted over 2 trillion text messages will be sent worldwide and this number continues to grow.


Total mobile messaging revenues worldwide – 2007; 2008


Approximate SMS revenue

($ billion)



2008 (e)


(Source: BuddeComm, 2008)


·         The USA is planning the most significant upgrade to its GPS system since its launch. GPS III satellites are expected to have 500 times the transmitter power of the current system. For more information, see chapter 7.1, page 81.

·         In 2008 mobile TV/video is commercially available in some markets and there will be further launches and trials taking place in all regions of the world.

·         The introduction of smaller and more flexible chipset modules will reduce the size of the RFID readers and bring overall costs down. For more information, see chapter 6.5, page 75.

·         Operators around the world are contemplating and deploying IMS; a mobile platform that makes seamless communications possible between fixed and mobile networks. Initially attitudes towards IMS were overly positive, but the hype is now settling with operators taking a more realistic and cautious approach.

·         In 2008 around 70% of GPRS operators have committed to deploying EDGE in their networks worldwide. For more information, see chapter 2.1.1, page 26.

·         The US mobile data sector continued to enjoy strong growth (at around 60%) in 2007.

·         Mobile operators in Eastern Europe are slowly focusing on mobile data, particularly in countries where prospects for revenue growth from saturated voice markets are slim and the number of deployed WCDMA/HSDPA networks is on the rise, a tribute to the technology's maturity and its dominance of the 3G technology market.


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