Seattle-based M:Metrics said today that the high-speed data networks that carriers have started to install around the world at the cost of billions are bringing in new revenue.
The news comes while most of the wireless leaders are meeting in Barcelona at 3GSM.
M:Metrics, which conducts surveys among wireless users, said growing use of 3G handsets has resulted in the adoption of mobile data services. The firm's latest monthly survey shows that subscribers are twice as likely to buy mobile content such as games, news and information, photo messaging and search when using a 3G handset.
"3G has been a significant driver of mobile data consumption," said Paul Goode, M:Metric's vice president and senior analyst. "The 52 million 3G subscribers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are making a substantial contribution to mobile operators' top lines, as by driving monthly data services ARPU [average revenue per user]."
In the U.S., M:Metrics said 9.6 percent of subscribers have a 3G phone. That compares which Italy, which has the highest concentration of users, at 26.4 percent.