Summits Yellow

GSMA: Data Revenues To Overtake Voice By 2018

David Murphy

Mobile operator data revenues will overtake voice revenues globally by 2018 as we move towards a fully connected world. So said the GSM Association (GSMA) at Mobile World Congress today. The mobile data explosion is being driven by a surge in demand for connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and is transforming the socioeconomic future of people in developed and developing countries.

A new GSMA report, The Mobile Economy 2013, developed in collaboration with PwC, reveals how innovative mobile connected products and services will revolutionise people’s lives over the next five years.

According to the report, in developed countries, mHealth could save $400bn in healthcare costs in OECD countries; connected cars could save one in nine lives through emergency calling services; mEducation couold reduce student drop-outs by eight per cent or 1.8m children; and smart metering could cut carbon emissions by 27m tonnes – the equivalent of planting 1.2bn trees.

In developing countries, mHealth coud help save 1m lives in sub-Saharan Africa;  mAutomotive will improve food transport and storage, which could help feed more than 40m people annually – equivalent to entire the population of Kenya; mEducation can enable 180m students to further their education; and intelligent transport systems could reduce commute times by 35 per cent, giving commuters back a week each year.

“Mobile data is not just a commodity, but is becoming the lifeblood of our daily lives, society and economy, with more and more connected people and things,” said Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA. “This is an immense responsibility and the mobile industry needs to continue collaborating with governments and key industry sectors to deliver products and services that help people around the world improve their businesses and societies.”

The increase in mobile operator data revenues is a global trend across both developed and emerging markets. In 2012, Japan became the first country where data revenues exceeded voice revenues, due largely to the availability of advanced mobile broadband networks and a higher adoption of the latest smartphones, tablets and connected devices. This year, Argentina’s data revenues will exceed voice revenues, attaining this milestone ahead of the US and UK, which will reach this point in 2014. Kenya will experience this shift in 2016, with other emerging economies expected to follow as mobile broadband continues to thrive.

Data growth has spurred significant advances in connected devices and M2M technologies globally. The report highlights four sectors in particular – health, automotive, education and smart cities – which are building on the evolution of mobile broadband access and services.

The GSMA is showcasing examples of the mobile products and services that are enabling global socioeconomic improvements at its Connected City at Mobile World Congress this week. This includes features such as remote health monitoring that link people to healthcare professionals from their own homes; intelligent logistics services that provide more efficient ways of transporting people and goods; smart technology that makes mobile the ‘brains’ of your home; and in-car services that change the way we consume information on the move.

You can access the complete report here.