SINGAPORE: According to ABI Research’s latest forecasts, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to consume 2,400 petabytes of mobile data annually by 2015, an estimated 23 percent of global data traffic, close behind North America with an expected consumption of 3,100 petabytes.
However, mobile Internet services are forecast to generate $80 billion in Asia-Pacific, which only accounts for 14.5 percent of global revenue. The disparity between high data consumption and low revenue contribution will largely be attributed to India’s emerging 3G networks, which will be major contributors to Asia-Pacific’s overall mobile traffic.
“In emerging markets such as India, where penetration of personal computers is low, mobile Internet on handsets will be popular among consumers due to its affordability and portability,” says ABI Research research associate Fei Feng Seet.
Competition is expected to drive mobile data revenue down; seven private operators successfully secured Indian 3G licenses in September 2010. Tata DoCoMo and Bharti Airtel will be launching their 3G networks in India by year-end, joining in the action with state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL.
“Competition for 3G subscribers in India is expected to be intense,” adds research practice director Neil Strother. “With Tata’s plan to open 4,000 3G retail outlets, and the other private operators to launch by next year, it will be a buyers’ market where consumers demand faster speeds, larger download volume, and lower price.”
Mobile Internet service revenue will surpass $198 billion globally by 2015 with a 15.7 percent CAGR from 2009 to 2015, lagging in comparison to the expected 47 percent CAGR in global 3G data traffic volume which will eclipse 10 exabytes by 2015.