Mobile spending to pass wired broadband by 2015

Pyramid Research report also shows data lines exceeding traditional phones

By 2015, the U.S. will spend more money annually on mobile than on all fixed-line communications, not counting enterprise services, Pyramid Research said Tuesday.

Not counting leased lines and other high-end business services, spending on communications services in the U.S. will rise from $362.0 billion in 2010 to $410.2 billion in 2015, according to Pyramid analyst Ozgur Aytar.

This year, 54 percent of that total goes for wireline services, such as DSL (digital subscriber line), cable Internet and TV, and satellite, and 46 percent for mobile. But by 2015, 51 percent of the spending will be on mobile and only 49 percent on wired connections, Aytar said.

Mobile data services may not replace wired broadband in many cases, but the forecast helps to illustrate the growing popularity of services that run on smartphones, as well as on other cellular devices and wireless machine-to-machine communications. The biggest portion of mobile growth will be in data services, where revenue will nearly double from $56 billion this year to $107 billion in 2015, Aytar said.

Revenue from fixed broadband data services will grow at a lower rate, from about $32 billion this year to $48 billion in 2015. VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) revenue will also grow, hitting $24 billion by the end of the period, Pyramid predicted.

Meanwhile, fixed-line phones continue to disappear. As businesses switch to VoIP and consumers adopt VoIP or just rely on their mobile phones, about 20 million traditional phones were unplugged in 2009 and roughly the same number will go out of service again this year, Aytar said.

Wired broadband lines already outnumber fixed-line phones in homes, and by next year, that will be true across both homes and businesses, according to Pyramid.

U.S. consumers like to buy more than one service from the same source, Pyramid also reported. In 2010, 57 percent of households had "multiplay" services, such as combinations of voice, broadband and pay TV, and that share will rise to 72 percent by 2015, the company predicted.

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
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