niceiphoneGlobal mobile data revenue accounted for nearly half of total mobile revenue in 2015. That’s expected to rise further this year and out to 2020, according to new market research from Pyramid Research.

Mobile data revenue will increase 7% annually and exceed $600 billion per year come year-end 2020, according to Pyramid’s ¨Mobile Data and WiFi Monetization: Convergent and user-centric offers take center stage.¨

The shift from traditional circuit-switched voice and messaging telephony to IP-based communications and content delivery is facilitating mobile data’s growing share or overall market revenues, Pyramid highlights in a press release.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) are searching for new ways to monetize their investments in mobile broadband infrastructure by differentiating their offerings and engaging users both more broadly and deeply, according to Pyramid.

“To compete with OTTs and other ecosystem service providers for broadband traffic, MNOs must develop attractive service, media and messaging platforms that enable customers to consume content and conduct transactions easily and within a budget,¨Pyramid Research analyst Maritza Morales was quoted as saying.

¨Beyond these competitive challenges, monetization strategies must fall within the constraints of net neutrality regulations imposed by national governments.”

Mobile Data Revenue Strategies
In response, a growing number of MNOs are focusing on convergence of multiple products and services into a variety of bundled services packages, added research director Ozgur Aytar. “We are seeing an increasing number of MNOs that are leveraging their valuable user data assets to create differentiated customer-centric offers, by focusing on convergence service solutions and by partnering with value-added IP-based communications and content providers.

¨Many converged data connectivity packages we see in the market are driven by data analytics,¨ he noted. That includes using Big Data to design products and define the thresholds for 4G service plans, an approach taken by China Mobile. Aytar added that BT-EE attributes the high level of customer satisfaction with its mobile services to the use of insights from the data it gather from customers’ usage.

Convergence also plays a role in creating new product and services monetization strategies centered on leading edge technology, performance and service. BT is planning to launch a 5G pilot to facilitate full convergence of its mobile, fixed and IP platforms, according to Pyramid.

AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV is an illustration of a bid to realize genuine service convergence across mobile, video and data platforms.

Evidence of intensifying competition in the market, AT&T earlier this month announced a new mobile service plan in a bid to simplify pricing. Available since Aug. 21, AT&T’s Mobile Share Advantage plans do not include overage charges. Instead subscribers that exceed their high-speed mobile data caps, data transfer is automatically reduced to 128 Kbps for the remainder of the billing cycle.

In addition, WiFi integration has grown to become a standard aspect of mobile network operators’ convergence plans and overall network strategies. “Among the emerging WiFi-driven service models, the most potentially disruptive uses WiFi and mobile interchangeably to keep users connected. Backed by the marketing prowess of Google, this new service could revolutionize mobile services configuration.”

Image courtesy of flickr user Oliur Rahman.