Users of data services on GSM/EDGE mobile networks are generating increased monthly revenues (ARPU) for operators. New GSA research confirms that ARPU for EDGE-enabled device users is typically 20% higher than for GPRS users, and in some cases reaching 33% and up to 100% higher. The pattern of higher ARPU for EDGE users is consistently higher over a period of several months.
These are some of the key conclusions from GSA’s Survey of Commercial GSM/EDGE Operators, which was completed in October 2005. The survey, which collected information from EDGE operators worldwide with at least 6 months commercial experience, also showed how services requiring higher data rates are benefiting from EDGE capabilities, such as video streaming – including mobile TV, video and audio clip downloads, etc. Higher speed using EDGE is preferred by laptop users for mobile office applications, with access to corporate intranet systems being a key point. EDGE speed, flat rate pricing and packaging are a winning combination and strategy.
EDGE is attracting more customers to become mobile data users. Operators agree that EDGE helps to prepare the market for 3G where WCDMA is not yet available, and improves the user experience when deployed as a complement to WCDMA.
Alan Hadden, President, GSA commented on the survey conclusions: “Focusing on the quality of the user experience is the key to success in data services. EDGE users consistently spend more than on GPRS. Data ARPU for EDGE users grew 3 times faster than on GPRS on some networks. EDGE users are more likely to subscribe to an unlimited data price plan to enjoy a better Internet and intranet experience, thereby boosting ARPU. As GSM/3G evolves to HSDPA (High Speed Data Packet Access) and wireless broadband, we expect the same effect to be repeated.”
Many operators also reported continuously growing data usage, with EDGE network’s capabilities heavily contributing to this. EDGE is boosting high-speed data usage especially for mobile broadband services, and mobile TV over video streaming. Some operators reported 17- 20% off total data traffic. It was also seen how EDGE is impacting on network traffic, with transmission expansion already foreseen by some operators.