According to ABI Research’s report "Mobile Subscriber ARPU, Voice, Messaging and Data Traffic Market Data," mobile end-user ARPUs dropped between 5 percent and 15 percent year-over-year in 4Q-2008 compared to 4Q-2007. China, India, and a number of other Asian markets dropped more than 10 percent. In Europe, the ARPU contraction was in the range of -5 to -8 percent. In North America, YoY ARPU did not nosedive, as it was buoyed by mobile data. In South America, markets were more mixed with some deflating inline and others, like Brazil, managing to hold up.

Mobile data (messaging and mobile Internet) contributes 38 percent of Japanese ARPUs, and many European operators depend on mobile data for 25 to 30 percent of their ARPU.

One of the fastest growing revenue segments for mobile operators is mobile Internet, driven by access fees and data traffic. Internet-related revenues grew between 15 percent and 25 percent YoY for 4Q-2008. ABI expects absolute mobile Internet revenues to continue growing robustly in spite of the economic downturn. Improvements in work, personal productivity, and organization are proving to be strong draws to mobile data applications.

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