There are ($)6.3 billion reasons why US wireless carriers love wireless data business. Chetan Sharma, an industry analyst, consultant and a long time reader of our blog has put together some numbers that show the importance of wireless data to the bottom lines of the US wireless carriers.
In the first six months of 2006, the four major US carriers – Cingular, Verizon, Sprint-Nextel, and T-Mobile raked in $6.3 billions in wireless data revenues, and that number is going to hit $15 billion for the entire 2006. Those are big numbers, up nearly 75% from last year, when the total was around $8.6 billion. This puts the US carriers in the global big leagues.
Verizon, Cingular, and Sprint ranked number 4, 5, and 6 respectively, amongst the top 10 operators worldwide in terms of total wireless data revenue generated for first half of 2006
Verizon, thanks to its aggressive push on the EVDO side of things is proving to be a big winner, and its wireless data revenues are up a 114%. Sprint is not doing to shabbily,as we noted earlier. Sprint is likely to cross the $1 billion in wireless data sales next quarter, joining Verizon and Cingular.
Overall ARPU (voice + data) increased slightly from Q106 but declined $0.27 from Q405. The general trend is towards slow decline. Data revenue is barely keeping up with the decline in voice ARPU. On an average voice ARPU has declined 8% from a year ago and data ARPU has increased 48%.
US has about 7M 3G subscribers by Q206, primarily from Verizon and Sprint Nextel. “With Cingular joining the fray, the 3G growth is expected to accelerate with 2007 being the inflection year,” Sharma predicts.
However, these good times might not last forever as we see the emergence of other wireless protocols such as WiMAX, which finally got a big backer last week.
You can read Sharma’s entire report here.