ABI Research sees mobile consumer service revenue maxing $70 billion in 2014

As 4G network deployments grow, nearly a quarter of device subscription revenues will come from suites of operator-branded premium services, according to ABI Research’s new study “4G Mobile Consumer Services.” Total 4G mobile consumer service revenue — including mobile Internet services — will grow rapidly, exceeding $70 billion worldwide in 2014.

“Operators of 4G networks will refuse to be marginalized as ‘dumb data pipe’ service providers," said ABI Research practice director Philip Solis. "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.”

Expect 4G services optimized to enable bouquets of mobile devices — smartphones, netbooks and PNDs — Solis said. Operators will be offering pooled device subscriptions where one user subscription activates many devices. Because networks are data-only, Internet access service will be the “killer 4G service.”

However, a suite of premium services can collectively drive significant consumer adoption, revenues and profits. The report specifically cites location services, such as turn-by-turn directions and points of interest; multimedia services, such as VoD and P2P video sharing; media broadcast services, such as pay-per-view TV and digital radio; and gaming services, such as multiplayer and augmented reality games.

These Web 3.0 services will be integrated with Web 2.0 features like personalization, community, interactivity, presence and localization, and delivered simultaneously, seamlessly and transparently to three screens — PCs, TVs and mobile devices — over the Internet, cable networks and wireless networks.

“Operators will take advantage of this market opportunity by breaking down their walls and building open ecosystems,” Solis said. “They will partner with third-party service providers from whom they can license and rebrand 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.”