Mobile usage study shows data services as the big earners
3G data services are set to triple in volume in the next four years, according to one study. Revenues from 3G data amounted to €1.6Bn in 2007, and will rise to €5.7Bn by 2012. This is the prediction of Mobile Life 2012, a study performed by research consultancy Goldmedia for Bitkom, the German IT, telecoms and media industry association.
The study's authors expect turnover from mobile data services to reach €2.3Bn in 2008 – excluding earnings from the SMS and MMS messaging services. Bitkom VP Achim Berg justified these high expectations with the constantly-growing use of the mobile internet. Today, one out of every three people under the age of 50 already has a mobile phone with internet access. Berg says that mobile surfing has only recently started to boom with the higher data rates achieved by 3G and 3.5G.
Similar results are shown in a study carried out in August this year by browser vendor Opera, to substantiate the success of its Opera Mini proxy-based mobile browser. According to this study, the use of the browser rose 9.1 per cent between July and August 2008 alone. In comparison with August 2007, the rise was as much as 357 per cent. The study goes on to say that the number of web sites visited with Opera Mini rose by 11.7 per cent from July to August 2008, and by 337 per cent over the previous year.
Bitkom and Goldmedia don't ascribe the growth in the earnings of mobile data services solely to business applications such as push email. Goldmedia MD Klaus Goldhammer has particular hopes for entertainment on the move. He believes that mobile video, mobile games, mobile music and mobile advertising alone will reach a market volume of around €740M in 2012. That would give the mobile entertainment sector an approximately 13 per cent share of total turnover from data services.
The Goldmedia study concludes that, just like commercial TV and radio, a large amount of mobile entertainment will be financed by advertising, making it cheaper to provide. Goldhammer expects growing differences in usage habits between the different age groups, but he thinks the use of mobiles will be especially strongly reinforced among today's under-thirties.