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IDC: Sprint Nextel regains lead in data ARPU

Verizon Wireless rang up the most mobile data revenue in the fourth quarter of 2006, but Sprint Nextel Corp. regained its lead in data ARPU, according to new figures from IDC.
The market research firm found that Verizon ended 2006 with 56.8 million direct retail subscribers, edging out Cingular’s 56.3 million direct retail customers, and Verizon remained the leader in overall data revenue as well as data percentage of ARPU. Sprint Nextel users spent an average of $8.32 a month on data services, however, outperforming Verizon’s average monthly data spend of $7.91.
U.S. subscribers spent a total of $4.8 billion on mobile data in the fourth quarter, IDC said, accounting for about 13 percent of ARPU, or $6.74 a month per subscriber. Messaging accounted for 49 percent of data revenue; revenues from content and simple applications were 13 percent.
IDC predicted carriers will see “double-digit” growth in revenue from e-mail and video services as flat-rate data plans gain traction and user-interface technologies improve.

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