Mobile end-user ARPUs (average revenue per user) dropped between 5% and 15% year-over-year in Q4 2008 compared to Q4 2007. China, India, and a number of other Asian markets dropped more than 10%; while Europe saw ARPU contracting in the range of -5 to -8%. In North America, ARPU did not nosedive, thanks to the growth of mobile data usage. Finally, markets in South America were more mixed with some of them deflating inline and others, like Brazil, managing to hold up ARPUs.
Mobile data (messaging + mobile Internet) contributes 38% of Japanese ARPUs, and many European operators depend on mobile data for over 25% to 30% of their ARPU.
One of the fastest growing revenue segments for mobile operators is, unsurprisingly, mobile Internet, which saw growth between 15% and 25% for Q4 2008. On that note, ABI Research expects absolute mobile Internet revenues to continue growing robustly in spite of the economic downturn this year.
As for the end-user voice traffic, it still managed to grow between 2% and 10% depending on the market, but revenue/minute continues to decline, as users start embracing mobile data applications such as messaging, web browsing and game downloads.
More information about ABI Research’s study titled “Mobile Subscriber ARPU, Voice, Messaging and Data Traffic Market Data” is available from their website.