Study: More enterprises in AP going mobile

The market for mobile services and applications was worth US$20.7 billion last year, a new study finds.
Written by Farihan Bahrin, Contributor

The increasing number of mobile workers and focus on improving operational efficiency will fuel the growth of mobile enterprise applications and services in the region.

According to a study released Wednesday by Frost & Sullivan, the mobile enterprise market in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 11.4 percent to reach US$35.5 billion by end-2011.

The market was estimated to be worth US$20.7 billion in 2006, the study found. Research house Frost & Sullivan defines the mobile enterprise market as one that includes all mobile revenues from the enterprise segment, encompassing corporate voice services, mobile office and other applications such as field force automation, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

The study determined that much of the growth is likely to emanate from mobile e-mail and other such mobile data services, as mobile operators turn to mobile office applications in an attempt to improve the average revenue per user (ARPU) amidst stagnating subscriber numbers and decline in voice revenues.

In countries with relatively mature mobile enterprise sectors, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, operators will likely introduce more integrated services--combining voice and data--to allow for better utilization of network capacities and generate new revenue streams.

"Mobile data services have been significant revenue contributors in the mobile enterprise segment," Janice Chong, industry manager at Frost & Sullivan, said in a media statement.

Chong noted that in various verticals, specialized products such as mobile sales force automation and CRM, could contribute to the growth of mobile enterprise services by fulfilling niche demands. Developments in fixed-mobile convergence, as well as the introduction of mobile number portability, are also expected to drive the adoption of mobile enterprise products in the Asia-Pacific region, she said.

"In time to come, we expect operators to develop closer partnerships with systems integrators to collectively drive the mobile enterprise market by creating awareness through aggressive marketing schemes," Chong added.

However, the study found that cost justification, returns on investments and security concerns, will present key challenges toward large-scale adoption of mobile office applications, especially for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).

According to Frost & Sullivan, the lack of market segmentation for products targeting SMEs mean that it will probably be too costly for these smaller organizations to adopt mobile applications on a large scale.

Instead, said Chong, providing hosted services could be an approach for service providers to target SMEs looking for secure mobility tools that do not need to be maintained by internal IT resources.

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