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Businesses to spend big on wireless data, study says

Businesses in Western Europe are expected to spend around US$12.7 billion on wireless data services by 2010, with the U.K. and Germany leading the pack.
  • John Blau (IDG News Service)
  • 24 August, 2006 11:48

Businesses in Western Europe will spend around US$12.7 billion on wireless data services by 2010, up more than 50 percent from last year, as they provide more tools for workers to be productive on the move, according to new research from Strategy Analytics Inc.

Messaging-centric applications, such as SMS (Short Message Service), instant messaging (IM) and e-mail, will continue to account for the lion's share of company spending on wireless data services, holding steady at 90 percent throughout the forecast period.

The remaining 10 percent is attributable to business applications, such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management), which are trimmed to run on wireless devices.

Spending on mobile CRM services, including wireless sales force automation, is expected to reach $1.4 billion by the end of the decade.

In 2005, Western European businesses spent $7.9 billion on wireless services, available over both cellular and wireless data networks. The U.K. and Germany accounted for 44 percent of total wireless enterprise sales, according to Strategy Analytics.

SMS is the most used wireless enterprise offering in Western Europe, with 9 out of 10 business cellular users taking advantage of the service. Businesses in the U.K. are predicted to spend the most on SMS -- $1.3 billion by 2010 -- representing 22 percent of the total Western European text messaging market.

While companies are expected to continue spending more on SMS than any other wireless data service -- $6.4 billion by 2010 -- the level of spending will drop from 79 percent of all wireless data services in 2005 to 50 percent by the end of the decade, according to Strategy Analytics.

Business uptake of mobile e-mail service will grow significantly in all Western European countries, to reach $2.8 billion in 2010 from $700 million in 2005.

The U.K. will have nearly 14 percent of its business user e-mail in-boxes mobilized by 2010, followed by Germany with 13 percent, accounting for sales of $549 million and $737 million respectively, the market research company said.

Strategy Analytics also forecasts strong take-up of mobile IM services, as more handsets become available with always-on connections.