Mobile Spending: More Data, Less Voice in 2012

The scale has tipped: Spending on mobile data sprinted ahead of spending on mobile voice services, according to a new report. Associations should take notice.

For the first time in the smartphone era, U.S. consumers spent more on mobile data than they did on talking time, according to a new report released by the Telecommunications Industry Association earlier this week. In the 2013 ICT Market Review and Forecast, TIA’s findings show that mobile data spending rose to $94.8 billion in 2012 (from $71.1 billion), while mobile voice spending dropped to $92.4 billion (from $98.7 billion).

“I don’t think it’s a big surprise,” said TIA President Grant Seiffert. “We expected it to happen eventually, and we believe that the trend is only going to continue to grow.”

TIA predicts that consumer spending on mobile data will nearly double by 2016.

“There’s this unquenchable thirst from consumers and now businesses and associations for using these devices to access information, analyze data, and to reach out to customers and members,” Seiffert said. “People are constantly using the technology in front of them to get their work done, whether that’s in the basement, at the kitchen table, or in Starbucks.”

Seiffert said groups that haven’t yet made the jump into the mobile space are getting left behind—an opinion that’s gaining currency this age of proliferating mobile websites and apps.

“You’re not going to be serving your members in a real-time way,” he said. “You have this whole transition about how an association serves its membership/customers. Everyone is moving in that direction, and if you’re not you’ll be left in the dark and your customers or your members will go somewhere else to be served.”

And mobile connectivity can help organizations be more productive internally and when communicating with staff.

“The internet is always at your fingertips or at your ears,” Seiffert said. “We’re constantly in communication, it’s a tool of productivity. Ten years ago, on a day where there was inclement weather or something else that might close the office, people would just stay in bed. Today, just because the government is closed or the typical office is closed, we’re not slowing down any.”

Has your association made a larger commitment to mobile? Share your story in the comments.



Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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