Why Apps Stores are important for Operator Lifelines
A recent Report by Capgemini has estimated the 2009 annual revenues from mobile app downloads to be $3.8 Billion. Given that the Apps eco-system is still developing and growing and Operators and handset manufacturers are trying to establish their own Apps stores and the increasing smartphone penetration, the Apps store revenues are likely to Reach US$ 8.6 billion by 2013, a CAGR of 30% between 2010 and 2013. Driven by the proliferation of free and mass market applications, the average selling price (ASP) for applications is likely to drop – analyst estimates indicate a value of US$ 1.72 by 2014, as compared to US$ 3.83 in 2009.
Debating the necessity for Apps stores for Operators, the Capgemini reports remarks that:
Launching an application store will provide operators with an opportunity to augment their existing data services revenue. There are going to be primarily four revenue streams for operators, viz. revenue share from the sale of applications, mobile advertising revenue, incremental data usage revenue and payment gateway revenue. Relying on these revenue streams, our analysis indicates that a typical operator (based in Western Europe with a subscriber base of 50 million) can expect a data revenue uplift of 11% by 2013. Additionally, if an operator is successfully able to implement a strategy wherein they are able to push web-based applications which result in greater data consumption, the revenue upside can be as much as 17% with over 30%-40% of this uplift coming from increased data usage.
In addition to augmenting current data revenues, applications storefronts can also be instrumental in attracting and retaining subscribers with high-spend on mobile data services. High-value customers exhibit a greater proclivity to download and use mobile applications. Moreover, application stores are becoming increasingly important for operators to build and maintain a robust content ecosystem, something that is essential in today’s economic climate and competitive landscape.
Operators are threatened by the prospect of being rendered “bit-carriers” due to the expansion of online and device players across the value chain. The emergence of application stores as primary channels for mobile content distribution can further impact operators’ positioning in the value chain. Consequently, inaction in this space would not only undermine the competitive positioning of operators vis-à-vis other players who actively launch application Stores, but also the ability to drive data consumption amongst existing consumers.