Quarterly Wireless ARPU Down Worldwide

Despite the fact that it’s a flawed metric, average revenue per user remains the most widely used financial metric in the mobile industry. A new survey out says ARPUs dropped around the world in the third quarter, led by significant drops in Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. It’s no surprise to see ARPUs shrink as prices fall, but the figures don’t give any idea about the profitability of carriers — as we’ve said before, ARPU totally ignores margins and profits in favor of revenues. One other interesting takeaway from the study is that ARPU in the US and Canada, where wireless service is “cheap”, is a third higher than in Europe, where it’s pretty much across the board more expensive. Elasticity strikes again?

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