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1/23/2007
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Ringtone Downloads Pace $4.1 Billion

New report paints a rosy picture for Verizon and the mobile data spending market.

Mobile phone users are downloading data at increasing rates with Verizon Wireless attracting the highest level of interest, according to a report released Tuesday by IDC.

In all, the 230 million wireless subscribers in the United States bought a total of $4.1 billion in data services in the third quarter of 2006.

"Our research found that at $7.27 spent per-customer on data services in 3Q06, Verizon Wireless became the new market leader among the national operators, eclipsing Sprint Nextel, the long-time leader in this metric at $7.15," said IDC's Julien Blin. The two leading firms employ CDMA technology.

Blin, who is research analyst for IDC's Wireless and Mobile Communications program, said Verizon leads in total wireless data revenue, data percentage of average revenue per user (ARPU), and data spending. However, Sprint and other national carriers pace the market in some selected service offerings.

So what's the most popular paid download?

According to the IDC report on wireless carrier data services vendor analysis, ringtones are the most purchased content that is downloaded onto mobile handsets. The market research firm expects more than a third of all U.S. wireless subscribers to purchase at least one ringtone each quarter.

"Continued support from leading record labels, media companies, and brands will remain a factor driving future sales," said Blin.

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