US mobile data grow 7.3% in latest quarter

The US mobile data services market posted quarter-over-quarter revenue growth of 7.3% in Q4 - a 38.7% increase over Q4 2007 - to generate total revenues of $9.4 billion, according to research firm Chetan Sharma Consulting.

FierceMobileContent cited the report  which found in all, the US mobile data segment yielded revenues of $34 billion in 2008 despite growing concerns over the global economic meltdown.

By comparison, Consultancy Accenture estimates the western European mobile data market to be worth €29 billion ($36.485 billion) annually and forecasts it will grow 21% a year until 2011. The mobile voice market is worth €120 billion, but is static.

Chetan Sharma notes that while the US economy is having a negative effect on the infrastructure and handsets segments, consumers have not begun cutting their overall mobile data spending, although some sub-segments like data card subscriptions and downloads are starting the feel the squeeze.

Chetan Sharma Consulting cites the confluence of 3G, superior devices and smartphones, and the evolving applications ecosystem as the catalysts behind the strides made by mobile data in the US in 2008, adding that the market experienced quarter-over-quarter growth between 7% and 9% during each quarter last year.

But given the bleak economic forecast, US mobile data's immediate future is in grave doubt - Chetan Sharma contends that if consumer sentiment and market psychology improve or remain consistently positive over the next three to six months, the current recession will register as little more than a blip on the overall US mobile data market, but if consumer confidence nosedives, subscribers are likely to begin slashing their discretionary mobile data spending and downgrading their wireless plans.