Increasing adoption of messaging and content services, aided by increased availability of 2G and 3G-based mobile networks, is expected to push operator-billed data revenues in the mobile markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China (collectively referred to as the BRIC economies) from $26.2 billion in 2008 to more than $48.3 billion by 2013, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The research highlights broader expectations that these four markets will be among the six largest economies in the world by 2050, by which time their mutual interdependence and trading abilities will have significantly shielded them from weakening economic conditions elsewhere in the world. They will be matched in size only by the United States and by Mexico.
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According to report author Andrew Kitson, "As fixed-line telephony and broadband availability via traditional forms of access remains low in comparison with other important economies, these countries are expected to turn to the mobile phone for much of their future communications, banking, entertainment, commerce and lifestyle needs. Indeed, in countries such as India, low-cost multi-functional mobile handsets will become an essential part of everyday life for millions of people otherwise beyond the geographic and economic reach of basic fixed-line infrastructure. This, in turn, will help continue to drive economic growth. Mobile data will therefore be central to this unfolding story."
For operators, the key change in the next five years will be the launch of commercial 3G services (currently available only on a regional basis in Russia and Brazil) as well as migrating low-cost prepaid users to higher-value postpaid offerings wherever they can. However, with billions of dollars set to be spent on establishing these next-generation networks, the fundamental question facing players will be whether they can turn a profit from markets that will still have very low GDP per capita levels by 2050.
Other findings include:
- The BRIC mobile user base is expected to rise from 1.209 billion in 2008 to 1.644 billion in 2013.
- Total operator-billed voice revenues for the region are expected to peak in 2010 at $117.1 billion and will decline thereafter.
- China will record the highest operator billed data revenues of all four markets throughout the forecast period, well ahead of its closest rivals, Brazil and India.
Source: Cellular News.