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Mobile data revenue overtakes voice in US market


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Tim Ferguson

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Revenue from mobile data exceeded voice in the US for the first time during the final quarter of 2013, according to research firm Chetan Sharma.

US mobile data service revenue grew 20 per cent year-on-year to reach $24.8 billion in Q4 2013. For 2013 as a whole, mobile data revenue reached $90 billion, with Chetan Sharma expecting the market to be the first to pass $100 billion in 2014.

The US accounted for 22 per cent of all data revenue globally, with closest rivals China and Japan some way behind. The country is the seventh to see data revenue surpass voice after Japan became the first in 2011.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T together took 68 per cent of mobile data service revenue and held 67 per cent of the subscriber base. During 2013, mobile data consumption per capita increased from 690MB to 1.2GB.

In addition, Chetan Sharma found that US operators added more than 12 million subscriptions last year. Verizon Wireless had a 36 per cent share of new subscriptions, followed by the resurgent T-Mobile, with 34 per cent.

The majority (89 per cent) of new subscriptions came from devices that weren’t phones, with tablets accounting for 49 per cent of connected devices sold.

Despite this, smartphone penetration reached 66 per cent during the year, with 92 per cent of all phones sold now categorised as smartphones.

Other findings included iOS regaining the top position in terms of smartphone market share, with 49 per cent of devices in the fourth quarter. For 2013 as a whole, iOS and Android were tied on 48 per cent market share each.

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