Global mobile Internet service revenue is estimated to have grown 23.4 percent to roughly $300 billion, according to ABI Research, as wireless broadband subscriptions jumped 28.8 percent and the smartphone share of total subscriptions advanced by 6.6 percent to capture 27.5 percent of the overall pie.
Despite the big numbers in mobile Internet, global wireless service revenue is estimated to have grown just 3.2 percent to slightly over $1 trillion.
In 2014, however, mobile Internet related revenues will power ahead with growth in the 13 to 15 percent range.
ABI noted that LTE is providing some upsell opportunities with multi-device plans and increased data quota plans, but by and large, 4G has not reversed the declining average revenue per user (ARPU) trend in most countries.
“The region that will contribute the most to the increase in mobile Internet service revenue is North America, despite the maturity of the North American market and that only 5.5 percent of global cellular subscriptions are based there,” commented Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI.
ABI belives that higher smartphone penetration and increased mobile data consumption have helped North America buck the declining ARPU trend.
"We expect ARPU in the region to rise in 2014 before declining again due to competition and lower revenue generating connections subscribing to mobile broadband,” Tan said.
ABI forecasts that the Asia-Pacific will lead worldwide mobile data traffic growth, generating 16.8 exabytes of traffic in 2014 for a 40.2 percent share.“
"After launching LTE services in late 2013, China will experience a surge in data traffic in 2014," noted Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director for ABI.