Mobile data tariffs drop


Charges for mobile data plummet by 17.7% year on year, while data revenue grows

The average price for mobile data has dropped by almost one fifth in the past year, according to a new study.

According to ABI Research, which looked at the data tariffs in the cheapest 20 markets globally between the third quarter of 2012 to 2013, prices have reduced by 17.7%.

'The decrease of data price was mainly driven by fierce competition and increased network capacity 4G roll outs,' commented Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. 'We estimate 38% of the lowest priced data plans worldwide are 4G tariffs compared to 21% a year ago.'

Yet while mobile data pricing is on the decline, data revenue has showed considerable growth due to continued strong adoption and usage of smartphones and increased data applications.

Total data revenue will reach $400 billion in 2013 with a year on year increase of 13.4%, and is forecast to grow to $527 billion, accounting for 47% of total service revenue in 2018.

'In many markets, the access and the mobile data quota has become the principle unit of value for the customer,' states Jake Saunders, VP and practice director. 'For example, in August 2013, Telus, based in Canada, launched new two year SharePlus data plans, at 1GB, 2GB and 3GB of data for US$28.6, $42.8, $47.6 respectively that can be shared among the residents of a household. National calls to mobile and fixed line numbers are free as is text messaging. While the tariff is a shared plan and voice calls and text are free, Telus has been able to boost ARPU and overall service revenues in the second quarter 2013. Operator AT&T, Rogers, and LG Telecom have also benefitted from similar tariff strategies.'

Saunders added that multi-device shared plans represented just 6% of tariff plans, but its share jumped 20% quarter on quarter. He said telcos have been steering customers away from 'all you can eat' tariffs, which shrank 20% quarter on quarter to 12%. Multiple tiered data tariffs, where pricing varies on the amount of traffic sent, is still the most common model mobile telcos offer to their customers at 66%, he noted.


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