Following the current worldwide trend, many of the people who have yet to experience the Internet will likely gain access via a mobile device -- such as a smartphone. During 2013, global mobile Internet service revenue is estimated to have grown 23.4 percent to roughly $300 billion, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.
Wireless broadband subscriptions have increased by 28.8 percent, and the smartphone share of total subscriptions advanced by 6.6 percent to capture 27.5 percent of the overall market share pie.
Despite the strong gains in mobile Internet adoption, global wireless service revenue is expected to have grown by just 3.2 percent -- to slightly over $1 trillion.
In 2014, according to ABI's assessment, mobile Internet related revenue momentum will continue upward, with growth in the 13 to 15 percent range.
LTE is providing some mobile network service provider upsell opportunities with multi-device plans and increased data quota plans, but by and large, 4G has not reversed the declining average revenue per user (ARPU) trend in most countries.
"The region that will contribute the most to the increase in mobile Internet service revenue is North America, despite the maturity of the market and that only 5.5 percent of global cellular subscriptions are based there," said Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research.
Higher smartphone penetration and increased mobile data consumption have helped North American mobile network service providers counter the declining ARPU trend.
ABI expects that ARPU in the region to rise in 2014 before declining again due to competition and lower revenue generating connections subscribing to mobile broadband.
When it comes to mobile data traffic growth, ABI says that it's already clear that the Asia-Pacific region will lead the pack -- generating 16.8 exabytes of traffic in 2014 for a 40.2 percent share.
After launching LTE services in late 2013, China will experience a surge in data traffic in 2014. Even mature markets like South Korea and Japan will continue to see strong growth as operators boost capacity with LTE-Advanced technologies.