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Strong Growth Foresees Strong For Mobile

A study from research firm SNL Kagan estimates that 84 percent of the U.S. population—including consumer, business and double users—will have mobile phones by the end of 2007. This number is expected to pass 100 percent by 2013.

SNL Kagan's research also shows that U.S. cell phone subscriptions will grow about 3 percent per year over the next decade versus total population growth of only 1 percent, despite decreasing net additions as 100 percent penetration is approached. These projections anticipate increased data use—including text, web and video.

SNL Kagan expects total industry average revenue per user (ARPU) to grow at an inflation-paced compound annual growth rate of 1.5 percent over the next 10 years, from $52.38 today to $61.09 by 2017. Industry hopes run much higher for data ARPU, which is already in the high single digits and grew a significant 45 percent from the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007 — from $5.92 to $8.58.

"If carriers can hold onto their position in the revenue chain, data is poised to give them a second growth spurt," said SNL Kagan senior analyst Sharon Armbrust. "While subscriber units and voice revenue will inch along, we expect data revenue to grow at a compound annual 14 percent rate over the next 10 years, rising to at least 22 percent of service revenue, compared to under 10 percent today."