Well-known wireless consultant Chetan Sharma issued his half-yearly wireless report this past weekend, and there are a few items that stood out.
— Data usage in the United States is growing at an impressive rate. The top four U.S. carriers (Cingular, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA) accounted for more than $6.3 billion in wireless data revenues for the first half of 2006. Sharma said the figures are likely to exceed $15 billion for the whole year. At that rate, it will be almost a 75 percent jump compared with the $8.6 billion spent in 2005.
— Text messaging is driving a bulk of the data revenues.
— Sprint has the highest wireless data average revenue per user (ARPU), at $7.25. The average data ARPU is now $6.30, or 12 percent of the total.
— If current trends hold, Verizon Wireless is likely to surpass Cingular Wireless as No. 1 U.S. carrier by the third quarter of 2007, Sharma said.
— And. finally, if you read all the way to the end of the note, he said Microsoft’s Windows Mobile is starting to make serious inroads in mobile phones. The deterrents for huge growth are performance issues and high prices.