Despite $1.4 Billion QoQ Revenue Growth, Asian Operators Struggle to Stop the Downward Spiral in ARPU

Oyster Bay, New York - 19 Apr 2011

While mounting mobile penetration and rapid adoption of mobile broadband continue to boost total service revenue for wireless operators, the dilution of Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) due to multi-SIMs has become a cause for concern, according to ABI Research’s latest published “Mobile Subscriber Usage and Traffic Market Data.”

Figures show that 4Q-2010 has seen an increase of $1.4 billion quarter-on-quarter or 2.2% growth for Asia-Pacific total mobile service revenue; however 4Q-2010 ARPU showed a decrease of 2.1% from 3Q. “The overall contraction of ARPU is largely caused by the continued expansion of the subscription base, where remarkably one in five is a newly-added subscription that was not around a year ago,” comments ABI Research practice director Neil Strother.

“More and more mobile network operators are looking ‘outside the box’ for new ways to generate revenue, which include adding new interactive value-added services (VAS) such as mobile TV, mobile payments, mobile wallet, airtime transfer or even free music downloads which encourage more data usage,” industry analyst Fei Feng Seet adds. “With the launch of India’s 3G networks, BSNL has also recently introduced VAS such as video SMS and video calls, in attempt to capture more market share and encourage 3G adoption.”

Operators believe these new means will also be likely to improve customer retention due to their familiarity and commitment to the services. The urgency in seeking improved loyalty could not come at a better time, as Mobile Number Portability came into effect in January 2010 in India, and country-wide MNP requests crossed 3.8 million at end of February.

ABI Research has just released a quarterly review of global and regional wireless usage metrics, which can be found in “Mobile Subscriber Usage and Traffic Market Data and “Mobile Carrier and Revenue Market Data.” These Market Data products forecast global, regional and country-level analysis into end-user level benchmarks quantifying the purchasing and usage habits of mobile cellular customers. They track average revenue per user (ARPU), usage, and traffic for carriers in more than 27 markets on a quarterly basis.

They are part of the Mobile Services Research Service, which also includes Research Reports, Research Briefs, other Market Data products, ABI Insights, and analyst inquiry support.

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