Average mobile data consumption in the US passed the 2GB per month barrier in the third quarter of the year, less than a year after it exceeded 1GB, according to analyst Chetan Sharma. It took 20 years for 1GB per month to be reached.
The same level of mobile data traffic seen in the whole of 2007 is now reached in less than 100 hours in the US.
The rapid increase in data usage has been accompanied by a drop in US data pricing during the first nine months of 2014. It fell by a huge 77 per cent during the period, a much faster rate than between 2010 and 2013, when it only fell by single digits year-on-year.
Even with data prices falling, revenue from mobile data services passed $25 billion in Q3, a record quarterly total. This represented a 23 per cent year-on-year increase and a 7 per cent improvement on the prior quarter.
Data revenue is forecast by Chetan Sharma to exceed $100 billion in the full year 2014, making the US the first market to reach the milestone.
The fall in data pricing has taken place as a result of US operators battling it out for market share.
Number-four player T-Mobile US kicked things off with its ‘Uncarrier’ strategy but has been joined in its price-cutting by Sprint, its rival for third spot in the market. Market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T have also made efforts in this area.
Sharma wrote that the fall in data pricing in the US is “having an impact on the industry financials which might help clear the way to further M&A”.
Following the end of Iliad’s efforts to acquire T-Mobile US, the analyst said the most likely scenario is that Sprint and T-Mobile “try to get married” in 2017. He also suggested America Movil could potentially enter the fray.