Spending on mobile services will grow 4% to reach US$21.4 billion in 2015, according to Gartner Inc. (www.gartner.com).
Spending on mobile services will be driven by data services, which is expected to grow 15% to reach $6.5 million in 2015, says the research group. A large chunk of this growth will be driven by the increasing use of cellular services on data-centric devices, such as tablets and notebooks, through either embedded cellular modems or USB sticks.
“In India, the rise in spending on data-only connections will be driven by two user scenarios – first, to complement their fixed broadband connectivity, so they can use their larger-screen data-centric devices on the go. In other use cases, data-only connections will be the way for consumers to access broadband connectivity because of a lack of fixed networks,” says Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner.
Newer and faster networks, a rise in the number of users of these networks, and more affordable smartphones will help to increase spending on data services. Spending on data services will also be heavily driven by mobile apps, particularly mobile video apps. Apps and content are driving traffic volume as people increasingly chat to friends and family, watch videos on the move, and listen to streamed music.
“Mobile data provides a substantial revenue opportunity in India. Communication service providers (CSPs) will need to focus on creating new pricing, with a focus on data access, such as shared plans. They will also need to refine the services they already provide, with a focus on creating richer, more immersive and more personalized experiences, to increase their customer numbers,” says Gupta.
As the mobile app market matures, app developers will have to sharpen their focus on the marketing and transparency of their apps, in order to retain customers. Gartner’s research indicates that although affluent people and traditional early adopters are the leading users of new technologies and devices, younger, less wealthy people make greater use of mobile apps. Young people’s greater acceptance of apps and mobile content will require app developers to adjust their techniques to address the differences between user groups.
The future will be tough for CSPs and mobile app developers who decide not to upgrade the user experiences they deliver on their services and products, according to Gartner. The winners will be those providers best able to satisfy consumers’ demand for high data use, while maintaining their margins.