The company said in its blog this morning that its mobile browser, Opera Mini, has generated more than $1.2 billion per year for mobile operators.
The report, which the company pulls from its monthly "State of the Mobile Web Report", seems clearly aimed at letting AT&T know that its browser brings in the big bucks and that perhaps the company should give Apple a little nudge. Currently, Apple only allows Safari to operate as a browser on the iPhone and all other browser apps are simply overlays on top of Apple's native browser.
Opera says in its post that its Opera Mini users generate nearly $4 billion in revenue for mobile operators, using $1 per megabyte as a standard.
The quote from Jon von Tetzchner, Opera's co-founder, says it all.
"We like to think of Opera Mini as a win-win solution. Consumers who would otherwise not pay for the mobile Web can do so without fear of 'sticker shock' when they see their bill. People paying for a flat-rate data plan can enjoy quick and hassle-free browsing over EDGE or 3G connections. Operators attract new customers for their data packages, and their strained networks can catch their breath while our servers do the heavy lifting."
"Who could pass up such an opportunity?" Opera seems to be saying. And for iPhone users, who are required to buy an unlimited data plan, the winner here would be AT&T, because Opera uses a compression system that the company claims can compress data by up to 90%. For some iPhone apps, like Skype and Sling, overuse of the 3G network was a claimed concern. With compression, AT&T could serve up the same or better experience while using less bandwidth.
In case you were wondering, it's been just over six days and three hours since Opera submitted its mini browser to the App Store.