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The state of the global mobile consumer, 2013

Divergence deepens


Mobile’s reach is greater than ever, and its continuing adoption is driving not just consumer behaviors but also business strategy. More and more companies are declaring that they are going mobile first. Yet what is mobile?

It is an industry that has phenomenal momentum and scale, but it is also one that is increasingly diverse. There are multiple standards, with 4G coexisting with 3G and 2G. Smartphones now ship over a billion a year, but the smartphone category describes a broad range of capability, price and capability. Short messaging service (SMS) used to be the only way of exchanging text between devices, today there are a rising range of options for doing so.

The State of the Global Mobile Consumer report analyses four of the key sub-trends we see happening in the mobile industry:

  • Device proliferation. Consumers are using more portable devices than ever, with a growing number of these being mobile Internet connected. With continued growth in both the number of users and the number of connected devices per user, traffic volumes are very likely to continue to grow.
  • The rise of the new generation of smartphone user. Baby Boomers are increasingly adopting smartphones, but they may not exploit their full breadth of capabilities. As the base of smartphones continues to expand into the older age groups, patterns of device usage are likely to stratify.
  • LTE raises the importance of network sharing. Early LTE subscribers have generally been content with the speeds received. Strong customer satisfaction with LTE services should encourage others to take up LTE and this in turn should lead to rising data volumes. In order for the deployment and operation of dense LTE coverage to be sustainable, operators may need to revisit options for network sharing.
  • The evolution of mobile messaging. Whereas ten years ago, two services represented essentially 100 percent of communication usage, today consumers make regular use of literally dozens of services, apps and content providers. The change is a milestone on the road toward a new carrier business model, focusing on networks and data.

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