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Business Spending On Mobile Data Set To Surge

While consumer content has taken its fair share of dollars, enterprises are still spending about 23% more on mobile data services than all the teenagers in the U.S. put together. And ABI Research says those figures are about ready to ramp up.
While consumer content has taken its fair share of dollars, enterprises are still spending about 23% more on mobile data services than all the teenagers in the U.S. put together. And ABI Research says those figures are about ready to ramp up.With 3G wireless broadband systems fully in place, advanced handhelds easily available, and more productivity applications appearing every day, the enterprise is spending more and more money on mobile data services. In its newest report, ABI predicts that by 2012 mobile data will eat up fully one-third of enterprise mobile budgets. This is good news for developers and network operators alike.

Enterprises obviously see the value in equipping their workers with mobile technology, otherwise they wouldn't be spending so much money on it. A large chunk of the wireless change has to be going to mobile e-mail products, which often run companies $30 to $40 per user per month. But there are thousands of other licensed applications, such as RSS or security software, that tack on $5 per month here and $5 per month there. Depending on what products are being used, it's easy to surpass $100 per month on data services alone. Teenagers aren't shelling out that kind of cash for their messaging and networking services.

Principal analyst Dan Shey says, "Mobile operators have served all customers very well with mobile entertainment including ringtones, games, and video downloads. But what are the opportunities for all value-chain players to serve business customers with applications that help them perform their jobs every day?"

Because the mobile enterprise market is so large and so varied, ABI says multiple players can successfully make money by developing mobile applications and services. But you have to know what you're doing. Says Shey, "Whether you are a developer or a wireless operator, you need to understand the differences in adoption and usage of different service categories for different customer segments. This data will drive product development efforts, acquisition considerations, and marketing and distribution strategies in a highly competitive mobile environment. Without this information, resources could be misaligned, and opportunities missed."

Whatever enterprise segment developers may be targeting, it is likely to be a lucrative one.