A Parks Associates industry report estimates global mobile data revenue will increase from $386 billion in 2015 to $630 billion in 2020, with most of the revenue growth in the Asia & Pacific region and the rest of the world. North America and Western Europe will see only minimal growth, and in the U.S. especially, alternatives such as Wi-Fi have drawn consumer interest to reduce their mobile data bills. Cable operators are promoting Wi-Fi hotspots, and roughly 70% of U.S. mobile consumers are interested in Wi-Fi-only data plans.
"The IoT market represents significant revenue potential for mobile operators, who are looking to the IoT to complement traditional smartphone-driven mobile data revenues," said Harry Wang, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates. "5G data service ARPU has limited room for expansion from current levels, so mobile operators are seeking new revenue streams in the broader IoT market. However, meeting both consumer demand and industrial needs requires comprehensive changes to their network architecture, from radio access to the core network functions."
"Each IoT vertical offers multiple use cases and has unique requirements on network performance and return on investment (ROI), which opens up market opportunities for alternative network providers such as SIGFOX and Ingenu," Wang said. "It will be a key step for mobile operators to transform their networks from hardware-centric to software-centric and cloud-native in order to have the necessary flexibility to meet customer needs in the IoT market. They will need to plan and coordinate 5G standards development with their own network transformation efforts, while pursuing customers in the competitive IoT market. It will not be an easy transition."
Parks Associates estimates that by the end of 2020, there will be 17.2 million 5G consumer market subscriptions worldwide, concentrated in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, and major industrial nations in Western Europe.
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