A new forecast from Informa Telecoms & Media expects mobile operators to increase their share of app revenues from 10% last year to 17% in 2016. However, they’ll also see their share of mobile content and commerce revenue drop from 44% in 2011 to 31% in 2016.
Although many services including mobile entertainment and messaging are going ‘over the top’, avoiding direct payments to networks, the adoption of carrier billing for paid app downloads will help to offset this lost revenue. Most major app stores, with the exception of Apple’s iTunes, offer the option of billing via mobile phone.
Guillermo Escofet, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, had a warning for mobile network operators. He said “Operators could miss out on the opportunity afforded by carrier billing if they don’t make it more affordable and accessible to app-store owners and developers, and if they do not introduce more efficient and flexible systems than the clunky and unreliable PSMS [premium SMS]. More compelling alternatives are already appearing in countries such as Russia, where instant-payment terminals in streets allow users to turn cash into e-money to spend on digital goods.”
Total mobile content revenue (total data revenues from consumers minus internet access and peer-to-peer messaging) is forecast to grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to $131 billion (£84 billion) in 2016.