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GSMA: The Rise of Connected Devices Will Drive Mobile Operator Data Revenues Past Voice Revenues Globally by 2018

Expansion of Mobile Data Will Provide Better Access to Healthcare and Education, Help Lift People Out of Poverty, Fight Hunger, Combat Climate Change and Fuel Economic Growth

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/-- The GSMA today announced that mobile operator data revenues will overtake voice revenues globally by 20181 as we move towards a fully connected world. The mobile data explosion is being driven by a surge in demand for connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and is transforming the socioeconomic future of people in developed and developing countries.

A new GSMA report2, developed in collaboration with PwC, reveals how innovative mobile connected products and services will revolutionise people's lives over the next five years.

In developed countries:

  • mHealth could save $400 billion in healthcare costs in OECD countries
  • Connected cars could save one in nine lives through emergency calling services
  • mEducation can reduce student drop-outs by eight per cent or 1.8 million children
  • Smart metering can cut carbon emissions by 27 million tonnes – the equivalent of planting 1.2 billion trees

In developing countries:

  • mHealth to help save one million lives in sub-Saharan Africa
  • mAutomotive will improve food transport and storage, which could help feed more than 40 million people annually – equivalent to entire the population of Kenya
  • mEducation can enable 180 million students to further their education
  • Intelligent transport systems could reduce commute times by 35 per cent, giving commuters back a whole week each year

"Mobile data is not just a commodity, but is becoming the lifeblood of our daily lives, society and economy, with more and more connected people and things," said Michael O'Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. "This is an immense responsibility and the mobile industry needs to continue collaborating with governments and key industry sectors to deliver products and services that help people around the world improve their businesses and societies."

The increase in mobile operator data revenues is a global trend across both developed and emerging markets. In 2012, Japan became the first country where data revenues exceeded voice revenues, due largely to the availability of advanced mobile broadband networks and a higher adoption of the latest smartphones, tablets and connected devices. This year, Argentina's data revenues will exceed voice revenues, attaining this milestone ahead of the US and UK, which will reach this point in 2014. Kenya will experience this shift in 2016, with other emerging economies expected to follow as mobile broadband continues to thrive3.

Data growth has spurred significant advances in connected devices and M2M technologies globally. Four sectors in particular – health, automotive, education and smart cities – are building on the evolution of mobile broadband access and services.

  • mHealth In the fight against malaria, TB, HIV and perinatal conditions, greater use of mobile connectivity could save more than one million lives in sub-Saharan Africa between now and 2017. In developed countries, mHealth products and services could shave a massive $400 billion off the annual healthcare bill in 2017.
  • mAutomotive – A staggering 240 million tonnes of food spoils during transit and in storage every year in developing countries. The use of mobile to track trucks, optimise fleet performance and monitor the temperature of storage facilities would save enough food to feed 40 million people in 2017, equivalent to the entire population of Kenya.

    In OECD countries, connected cars equipped with in-car emergency call services can help save 35,000, or one in nine, lives by 2017 by providing quicker and more accurate emergency location and response times.
  • mEducation The use of mobile handsets, e-readers and tablets to enable flexible learning in developed nations will boost primary and secondary student retention rates by eight per cent, or 1.8 million children, by 2017.

    In the developing world, of the 610 million students enrolled in primary education, only 10 per cent are expected to enter secondary education. The impact of mEducation will result in a 180 million students having the opportunity to stay in education over the next five years in developing countries.
  • Smart Cities People can reclaim one full week of time annually as a result of intelligent transport systems that will monitor traffic flows and encourage the use of public transport, which will help reduce commute times by up to 35 per cent in developing smart cities in 2017.

    A staggering 360 million tonnes of carbon is emitted by developed market cities each year. Through smart metering this could be reduced by 27 million tonnes, or the equivalent of planting 1.2 billion trees, in 2017.

The GSMA is showcasing examples of the mobile products and services that are enabling global socioeconomic improvements at its Connected City at Mobile World Congress this week. This includes features such as remote health monitoring that link people to healthcare professionals from their own homes, intelligent logistics services that provide more efficient ways of transporting people and goods, smart technology that makes mobile the 'brains' of your home, and in-car services that change the way we consume information on the move.

For the complete GSMA-PwC report visit: www.gsma.com/connectedliving.

For more information on the GSMA Connected City visit: www.gsma.com/newsroom/gsma-to-unveil-the-connected-city-at-mwc-2013.

Notes to Editors

1 Global Mobile Operator Data vs. Voice Revenue Forecast 2018 - GSMA
GSMA (2018 extrapolation of Ovum 2012-2017 Mobile Voice and Data Revenue Forecast)



Data Revenues (US$)

Voice Revenues (US$)



$559 billion

$547 billion

2 Connected Life: The impact of the connected life in the next five years, PwC for the GSMA

3 By Country Mobile Operator Data vs. Voice Revenue Breakdown - Ovum
Ovum 2012-2017 Mobile Voice and Data Revenue Forecast



Data Revenues (US$)

Voice Revenues (US$)



$48 billion

$46.5 billion



$5.22 billion

$5.16 billion



$123.9 billion

$105.8 billion



$14.2 billion

$13.9 billion



$828 million

$789 million

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo. 

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com or Mobile World Live, the online portal for the mobile communications industry, at www.mobileworldlive.com.


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