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US punters gobbling up mobile data

And it's not all SMS

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The US is consuming vast amounts of mobile data and, unlike Europe, it's not all SMS messaging, according to a report from consultants Chetan Sharma.

Between April and June this year, the US wireless business made $5.85bn from data, an increase of seven per cent on the same period last year, and contributing nearly 17 per cent to total revenues.

In the UK, operators like data to be about 20 per cent of revenue, with some aiming for 25 per cent, but they always include SMS revenues in that figure, making it hard to establish just how many punters are really using the whiz-bang mobile data services.

In the US, around half of the data revenue is coming from new data services. T-Mobile, for example, is getting 53 per cent of its data revenue from non-messaging services.

The increase in data revenue is essential as voice is basically static in developed markets - you can encourage customers to make more calls, but as rates drop you don't generally make more money. In the US, voice ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is up only one per cent since last year, while data has increased by eight per cent.

The US has long been seen to be lagging behind Europe in mobile, and in many areas that's still true, but these figures indicate that any lead Europe still maintains isn't going to last long. ®

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