Forecasted to Reach $630 Billion by 2020

A Parks Associates industry report estimates global mobile data revenue will increase from $386 billion in 2015 to $630 billion in 2020, with most of the revenue growth in the Asia & Pacific region and the rest of the world.

North America and Western Europe will see only minimal growth, and in the US especially, alternatives such as Wi-Fi have drawn consumer interest to reduce their mobile data bills. Cable operators are promoting Wi-Fi hotspots, and roughly 70% of US mobile consumers are interested in Wi-Fi-only data plans.

global_fig1_112016The IoT market represents significant revenue potential for mobile operators, who are looking to the IoT to complement traditional smartphone-driven mobile data revenues. 5G data service ARPU has limited room for expansion from current levels, so mobile operators are seeking new revenue streams in the broader IoT market. However, meeting both consumer demand and industrial needs requires comprehensive changes to their network architecture, from radio access to the core network functions.

5G & Wi-Fi: Provider Strategies for the Next-Generation Network addresses opportunities and challenges that mobile operators will face in their bid to build the next-generation 5G network. The report notes a potentially long and painful journey for some operators as they move to 5G networks, and includes recommendations to global mobile operators.

Report highlights also include:
• As mobile operators begin to evolve their LTE networks towards the 5G era, the use of unlicensed spectrum has become a critical component in their LTE + small cell strategy.
• The 5G network core needs to become more flexible, agile, and scalable to manage different data traffic types from devices with different requirements for throughput, latency and reliability.
• Most mobile operators prefer a cellular-based IoT network, and they are pushing for industry standards such as LTE-M1 and M2 to go through the necessary ratification process at a faster pace.
• Each IoT vertical offers multiple-use cases, and has unique requirements on network performance and return on investment (ROI), which opens up market opportunities for alternative network providers such as SIGFOX and Ingenu. It will be a key step for mobile operators to transform their networks from hardware-centric to software-centric and Cloud-native in order to have the necessary flexibility to meet customer needs in the IoT market. They will need to plan and coordinate 5G standards development with their own network transformation efforts, while pursuing customers in the competitive IoT market. It will not be an easy transition.

Parks Associates estimates that by the end of 2020, there will be 17.2 million 5G consumer market subscriptions worldwide, concentrated in the US, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, and major industrial nations in Western Europe.

For more information about the report 5G & Wi-Fi: Provider Strategies for the Next-Generation Network, please visit or

About Harry Wang

Harry Wang is Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates. He oversees Parks Associates’ mobility and apps research, which covers mobile/wearable devices and services, apps and APIs, and mobile commerce/marketing, payment, and connected car industries. He is also the founder and lead analyst of Parks Associates’ digital health research program since its inception in 2006. He and his team cover emerging health technologies, applications, and services in areas such as chronic/preventive care, independent living, wellness and fitness, and virtual/convenience care. Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. For more information, please email or visit