Orange expects to see a doubling in revenue growth from mobile data within the next four years as the bulk of its customer base moves to high-end smartphones.
Olaf Swantee, executive vice president of Orange, said at the Open Mobile Summit in London on Wednesday that more customers will move to these devices, and the average amount of data being accessed will rise.
"The average data usage per customer is around 8MB per month at present, up from 3.5MB this time last year, and we expect revenue from data use to be worth 28 per cent by 2015, up from 13 per cent at present," he said.
"At present, up to 30 per cent of customers on contracts have smartphones, so we have a huge percentage with basic phones on contracts or on pre-pay devices, so as these groups come to smartphones we think a doubling of revenues from data will occur."
Swantee, who manages several nations for Orange across the European Union, including the UK, also revealed that the company is seeing huge demand for mobile data even in markets where the overall economy is floundering.
"Markets in the European Union seem to ignore economic differences and crisis when it comes to mobile data, as even in nations like Romania or Moldova we've seen huge growth in revenues," he said.
Swantee also revealed that Orange expects to make a capital outlay on network investment of €18.5bn between now and 2013 as the company looks to keep pace with the demand for mobile data.
Mike Volpi, a partner at venture capital firm Index Ventures, said at the event that mobile operators are in a strong position in the mobile data ecosystem owing to their control of spectrum.
"There are only so many bits you can send through the air, unlike fixed line which is as good as infinite, so those that control the spectrum will be able to monetise more than the fixed line industry, so operators have a much more important say," he said.
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