While European operators are successfully using smartphones and tablets to boost their average revenue per user for data, this growth is failing to compensate for the ongoing decline in mobile voice revenues, according to a new report from the research firm Wireless Intelligence.
The study covers mobile operators in 27 EU countries and claims blended mobile ARPUs have fallen by 20 per cent over the last three years, declining, on average, from €25 in 2007 to €20 in 2010. The research firm maintains that this reduction in voice ARPU is due to the downward trend in the average per-minute price for voice calls from €0.16 to €0.14 over the last three years.
Meanwhile, data revenues, including messaging, rose by an average of only €1 over the last three years to about €6. Of note, within this number mobile data ARPU doubled to slightly less than €3, but still only accounted for less than 15 per cent of total ARPU.
While some of the larger operators are starting to move towards balancing their declining voice ARPUs with improved data revenues, they remain the exception. One example of an operator that has turned the corner is Vodafone UK, which has boosted total data revenues to £314 million in the 2009-2010 period, fully balancing the fall in voice revenues of £262 million.
However, this performance stands in stark contrast to Japan where SoftBank, the country's third-largest operator, claims to have become the first operator in the world to generate more revenue from non-voice services than voice.
- see this Wireless Intelligence article
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