It’s going to be a landmark year for mobile data revenue, breaking the $100 billion barrier for the first time in the U.S., according to a new report.
The U.S. will be the first country to cross this revenue line, predicts leading analyst Chetan Sharma, with China and Japan second and third. In 2013, the U.S. earned $90 billion in mobile data revenue — an indicator of how people are moving from the desktop to their smartphones and tablets.
This revenue milestone is coming on fast after the market finally tipped in favor of data revenue in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2013. Revenue for mobile data exceeded voice for the first time last year.
The U.S. is winning the race to $100 billion thanks to aggressive plans from giants like Verizon and AT&T, according to Sharma.
However, even with this goal in mind, data costs are likely going down in today’s fiercely competitive mobile market. Sharma told VentureBeat that with T-Mobile aggressively driving down prices, it’s only a matter of time before AT&T and Verizon lower plan prices as well.
“The question is how much and how soon,” Sharma said. T-Mobile’s pricier competitors could “attack [by lowering prices] on the prepaid side, which would make sense — or on the postpaid side. It’s all up in the air at this point.”
Indeed, Verizon has already announced a new lineup of cheaper plans in February.
Currently, the U.S. provides some of the highest cost data plans in the world. The monthly price for an average U.S. data plan was $85, compared to around $24 in China and around $9 in the U.K., according to a 2013 report from the Economist.
The 2013 report also the amount that U.S. wireless users pay for their broadband accounts represents a significantly smaller percentage of the average subscriber’s total income than what customers pay in other countries.