As 4G network deployments gather momentum, a substantial 22% of device subscription revenues will come from suites of operator-branded premium services.
Total 4G mobile consumer service revenue – including mobile internet services – will grow rapidly to exceed $70 billion worldwide in 2014, says ABI Research.
According to ABI Research practice director Philip Solis, “Operators of 4G networks will refuse to be marginalized as ‘dumb data pipe’ service providers. Instead, they will offer suites of ‘smart services’ – some internally developed, others via partnerships with third party suppliers – that will be provided over ‘smart networks’ enabled with all-IP technologies, IMS infrastructure and cloud-based storage.”
The analysts think these 4G services will be optimized to enable a proliferation of mobile devices, such as smartphones, netbooks and PNDs, and many operators will be offering pooled device subscriptions: one user subscription, many activated devices.
Internet access service will be the “killer 4G service” – no surprise considering 4G networks are data-only.
However, a suite of premium services will collectively drive significant consumer adoption, revenues and profits, including location services (such as turn-by-turn directions and POIs), multimedia services (as VoD and P2P video sharing), media broadcast services (pay-per-view TV and digital radio) and gaming services (such as multi-player and augmented reality games).
ABI Research predicts that these “Web 3.0” services will be integrated with popular Web 2.0 features, such as personalization, community, interactivity, presence, and localization, and will be delivered simultaneously, seamlessly and transparently to ‘three screens’ – PCs, TVs and mobile devices – over the internet, over cable networks, and over wireless networks.
“Operators will take advantage of this market opportunity by breaking down their walls and building open ecosystems,” says Solis.
“They will partner with third-party service providers from whom they can license and re-brand services; they’ll work with network and handset OEMs to influence infrastructure and device specs; and they’ll join ecosystem development organizations, such as Alcatel-Lucent’s ng Connect program.”