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By next quarter, more data than voice will be traversing U.S. mobile networks

Posting in Technology

For the first time, more data traffic will be crossing U.S mobile services and networks than voice traffic, an analyst firm estimates. 

That's the word from Chetan Sharma Consulting, which points out that data is now 48% of the U.S. mobile industry service revenues, and "the cross-over point of 50% might occur next quarter." The firm predicts up to $90 billion in mobile revenues for the U.S. in the year 2013, and a record fourth quarter. The U.S. mobile data markets leads the markets in Japan and China.

Something has happened to the mobile phone in recent years. We no longer carry phones around with us -- we carry small computers that also happen to provide communications services. The shift away from voice to data has been evident since 2009, when Apple first announced its iPhone, a device capable of accessing the internet, taking pictures, and running apps -- a handheld computer. The fact that it was a phone was almost an afterthought.

More than 64% of mobile phones now used in the U.S. are smartphones, and will comprise 90% of devices sold in the third quarter. Chetan Sharma expects smartphone demand to continue at a frenzied pace through the coming year, thanks to continued upgrade demand.

The consultancy contends that the mobile industry is entering a new phase, in which value-add services are a greater part of the business than simply supporting devices.

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— By on November 18, 2013, 7:24 PM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure