US Mobile Broadband Analysed

Coda Research Consultancy, which specializes in market and behavioural research into new technologies, has released the results of an in-depth study into US mobile broadband.
The report interrogates current and future drivers for mobile broadband take-up and revenue streams, considering a variety of devices and applications, operating systems and changing consumer behaviour. It also provides extensive forecasts up to 2015 for the Smartphone; smartbook and netbook/sub-notebook markets; device ownership; content usage (including video and mobile banking and payments); traffic across each device and by traffic type; and revenues and ARPU for each mobile carrier.
The report forecasts that:

  • Mobile broadband traffic will rocket to 724TB (Terabytes) per month in 2015.
  • 74 million Americans will access video via mobile phones in 2015, up from 15 million in  2009. 24 million Americans will access video via notebooks and netbooks.
  • Video traffic will be responsible for the majority of traffic growth, and will form nearly two thirds (63%) of mobile broadband traffic by 2015. This will be mainly short-form content such as comedy, music, news clips, and viral videos.
  • 78 million Americans will access mobile banking via their phones in 2015.
  • Audio traffic will reach 90TB per month in 2015.
  • Mobile broadband phone penetration will rise to reach 244 million in 2015, up from 37% in 2009 – a CAGR of 18%.
  • Smartphone penetration will reach 51% of mobile phones in use by 2015.
  • Two thirds of mobile broadband phone owners will regularly access the Internet via these devices by 2015, a CAGR of 26%.
  • Mobile phones will take up two thirds of mobile broadband traffic by 2015, up from 49% currently, reflecting the centering of mobile broadband upon phones
  • Netbook ownership continues to rise, and will be at around 12 million at the end of 2009.
  • Netbook ownership will rise by a CAGR of 33% to reach 58 million in 2015, although only around half of owners will access the Internet as least weekly.
  • Netbook traffic will rise by a CAGR of 96% between 2009 and 2015. Of netbook traffic, video will rise at a CAGR of 120%, to reach 41TB per month in 2015.
  • Mobile data revenues will be welcome amid stagnating voice revenues. While voice revenues will decline at a CAGR of -1%, revenue from mobile data will increase at a CAGR of 15% over 2009. Two thirds of this will come from mobile broadband.
  • Thanks to mobile broadband, data ARPU will increase by a CAGR of 14% between 2009 and 2015.
  • Of all carriers, Verizon will continue to gain highest revenues from data, and these revenues will rise at a CAGR of 18%. T-Mobile will continue to fetch lowest data revenues, although these will rise by a CAGR of 14%.
  • Although achieving lower overall data revenues than AT&T and Verizon, Sprint will continue to gain highest data ARPU.

Clearly, no single device is going to win out, says Coda Founder, Steve Smith. We are looking at an eco-system of devices that people will use according to where they are, who they are with, what they want to do, and device factors such as around screen size. This also means that device manufacturers and operators will have to provide a range of connectivity means. People tend to think that inbuilt modems are the way forward. Certainly we shall see a rise in these, but there will be a great many people who will want to move broadband dongles from one device to another.
A challenge for carriers and content providers is that only half of people with Internet-enabled phones actually use them to access the Internet. The potential is there, but organizations need to move people from ownership into integrating their devices into their everyday lives. Consumers need to see and understand the value of mobile broadband.
The report, US Mobile Broadband: Behavior, content and forecasts, 2009-2015, forms part of Coda Research Consultancys 2009 Mobilities project. It includes 57 pages of revenue, user and traffic forecasts and commentary up to and including 2015.  
Coda says the report is essential reading for content and rights owners, device and component vendors, mobile carriers, service providers, developers, consultants and financial analysts, and anyone else with an interest in the future of mobile broadband in the US.
The report costs 1,185 for a single-user licence; 2,250 for a 2-5 user licence; or 4,500 for an Enterprise licence. Theres more information here.