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Mobile Carriers Must Focus on Data Services as Smartphone Sales Exceed 215 Million Units in 2010

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Mobile operators have to diversify their business plans, according to a new report from Parks Associates, which finds voice ARPU declining by as much as 30% in some areas, while annual smartphone sales will exceed 215 million units in 2010, creating new opportunities for data services.

"Mobile operators are looking to their data-based services for revenue generation and to offset losses in voice revenues," said Laura Allen Philips, research analyst, Parks Associates. "In North America, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and Rogers Wireless have started data-based initiatives including subsidization of smartphone handsets, branded mobile-app storefronts, wholesale connectivity to connected CE, and network upgrades. In Western Europe, Vodafone continues to push its mobile broadband offerings and recently launched a new suite of Internet services for mobile devices. These are all key monetization strategies as the market shifts away from voice services."

Mobile Services: Global Outlook (Second Edition), a new report from the international research firm, finds voice ARPU in North America will decline by almost 30% from 2009 to 2014. Over the same timeframe, it will decline by 27% in Western Europe and 25% in Asia-Pacific.

Regulatory changes, increasing competition, and the struggle to attract and retain high-value subscribers conspired to drive down voice ARPU and revenues. In contrast, global smartphone shipments experienced a 32% year-over-year increase from 2008 to 2009, and they account for 16% of worldwide mobile phone shipments, compared with 11% in 2008.

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Tags: wireless  europe