Infonetics chartMobile broadband is poised to push mobile services to $976 billion by next year, according to a recent report.

The report by Infonetics Research also said that mobile broadband subscribers would grow from 15 percent to nearly 40 percent of all mobile subscribers between 2011 and 2016.

“The mobile world is undeniably shifting from voice to data as mobile operators migrate as many subscribers as they can to data service plans and smartphones. Already in North America and Asia Pacific, mobile operators derive over 40 percent of their mobile revenue from mobile broadband and messaging. But, while mobile broadband is no doubt the fastest-growing revenue stream for operators, mobile messaging and voice aren’t dead just yet, not by a long shot,” said Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • On a global basis, Infonetics expects operators to see a 6 percent increase overall in revenue from mobile voice, mobile broadband and mobile messaging services in 2012.
  • The highest growth this year will come from Asia Pacific and Latin America, while the EMEA region is expected to see a slight decline due to cutthroat competition and economic turmoil.
  • Mobile data (text messaging, multimedia messaging and mobile broadband) service revenue rose in every region in 2011, driven by an increase in smartphone usage.
  • At more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in 2011, Asia Pacific generated the largest portion of mobile service revenue.
  • Voice revenue dipped 0.8 percent worldwide in 2011, despite the growing use of voice services in China.

“The prophecies of doom for mobile operators’ SMS/MMS cash cow are being overplayed,” Téral said. “Despite the popularity of over-the-top messaging applications like Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, our data shows SMS growing every year from 2012 to 2016, delivering a cumulative $1 trillion in operator revenue during those 5 years. And over that same period, voice revenue will decline only slightly, still making up a sizable chunk of operator revenues.”