Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cellular Data Traffic Doubling Every Year - Smartphones and Tablets found guilty

Cell Tower

While some might be surprised at this statistic, many are actually a little underwhelmed by this report that suggests that cellular data traffic has doubled over the past year. By the close of the year in 2012, mobile network traffic had hit 1,300 petabytes per month, twice as much as the previous year. The report has been put forward by Ericsson and their data comes from a large base of commercial networks that together cover all the regions of the world.

While Cisco’s report is already contesting this data and claims that traffic per month is more along the lines of 885 petabytes a month, the trend of a huge increase has not been contested by either given that Cisco’s data usage rate for last year is lower than that used by Ericsson in their report.

The root cause of the increase in mobile data traffic all over the year is obvious and comes from a few main points. With the combination of an increase in average internet speed worldwide, greater availability of devices that connect to the internet, an increase in spending power as well as advancement in LTE technology, mobile broadband subscriptions have seen a huge increase over the last year.

Devices like the Galaxy Note and the Apple iPad have given consumers a fantastic platform to explore the internet, download documents and literature to read as well as explore the world of ever increasing applications and play around with them. The sales of smartphones have shot up with a ton of new smartphones being introduced at ridiculously cheap prices. All of these factors have contributed to this burst of data traffic in the last year.

Further, with tons of companies moving to the cloud and everyone striving to be connected while on the move, it was evident that such an increase in traffic would be seen sooner or later. However, while most experts cannot comment on the exact amount of usage, many were betting on usage being tripled or quadrupled rather than just being doubled. However, given that these devices are also WiFi ready, many users often use WiFi connections for large application downloads or file transfers given the expensive cost of mobile data.

Another significant and important statistic in Ericsson’s report is that the maximum amount of increase in mobile data usage over the last year is due to online video. A total of forty percent of all tablet data traffic can be attributed to videos with smartphones traffic using only twenty five percent of total data consumption for video.

Approximately 6.3 billion mobile subscriptions exist in the world.

Photo: BBC-13-03-09 by Jusben