According to a new research report by Berg Insight the number of mobile subscribers accessing maps and downloading routes using their mobile handsets in Europe and the USA is expected to grow from 4 million users in 2007 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60.8 percent to reach 43 million users in 2012. Revenue from subscriptions and advertisement is expected to reach Euro 512 million by 2012 from Euro 96 million in 2007, a CAGR of 39.8 percent.
The growing adoption will be driven mainly by the introduction of GPS-technology in smartphone handsets and bundling of navigation and map content with mobile devices as well as service plans.
This year the successful launch of the GPS-enabled Nokia N95 has opened up the market for handset based navigation in Europe. The US market has evolved further with GPS already being a standard feature in all CDMA-handsets. Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless have attracted millions of subscribers to navigation services, a feat which European network operators now hope to repeat. Meanwhile, Nokia is putting its full weight behind a handset-centric map and navigation platform, whereas Google and Yahoo! are extending their existing local search and map propositions with Mobile Web 2.0 applications.
Andre Malm, telecom analyst, Berg Insight says, "Record shipments of PND devices in Europe and the US have introduced the benefits of GPS for motorists. Now the major players in the mobile industry are in hot pursuit of delivering the same experience for pedestrians, commuters and travellers on the handset display."
Berg Insight expects that ad-funded services will account for an increasing share of the mobile navigation market. Navigation fits perfectly with local search applications that offer completely new opportunities for advertisers to target consumers in novel ways. Mr Malm urged the mobile industry players to embrace the ad-funded service model in order to stay competitive on the emerging market. "Maps are already available free of charge from a host of sources on the Internet. Soon navigation will reach that stage too pulling away the very foundation for premium rate mobile propositions," said Mr Malm.