Even if mobile data remains the next revenue frontier in much of Asia, executives in the mobile industry always must prepare for maturation of any single revenue stream, no matter how big. So it is that in many markets, the smartphone era, with its mobile data revenue model, is about to end. 

According to analysts at Deloitte, we already are at the peak of the smartphone era. In fact, 2016 “will likely mark the end of the smartphone growth era, and the start of its consolidation,” Deloitte argues. “A mere nine years after the launch of the first full touchscreen smartphone, adoption is nearing a plateau, at 81 per cent of UK adults, and 91 per cent of 18–44 year olds.”

 

A couple of observations: the “end of the smartphone era” also implies the end of the period where smartphones and mobile data plans drive revenue growth. If you want to know why mobile executives are focused on all manner of Internet of Things opportunities, the end of smartphone-led growth is the reasons.

To be sure, those trends are now paramount in all markets. In many nations, subscriber account growth remains a key opportunity, as does mobile data revenue. But we already can see the need for the next revenue model, as mobile data growth becomes challenged.

Likewise, even if mobile voice revenue has room for growth in many markets, consumers in other markets already are reducing the amount of voice calls they make and receive.

Among the other changes is declining reliance on voice calls. By mid-2016, 31 percent of respondents in the Deloitte survey claimed not to make any standard voice calls in a given week.

In 2015, about 25 percent said they did not make a call in a week. As recently as 2012, as few as four percent of phone owners said they had not made any calls in a week. On the other hand, use of almost all other media types continues to grow.