BOSTON, USA: As browsing and access to social networks, search, webmail and other popular Internet destinations drive mobile data usage, mobile operators must plan for an explosion in data traffic from mobile handsets.
According to, “Global Handset Data Traffic Forecast, 2001-2013,” recently published by Strategy Analytics, mobile phones—excluding wireless PC cards and other cellular enabled devices—will generate almost 2.2 Exabytes of data traffic; 84 percent will come from web browsing. This volume of data is equivalent to watching over 120,000 years of DVD quality video.
Nitesh Patel, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, noted: “The current surge in network traffic experienced by operators derives from a disproportionately small base of cellular-enabled notebooks and laptops. However, traffic generated by mobile handsets, which includes smartphones and feature phones, will rise significantly, and will represent 30 percent of total data traffic in 2013. Access to web services on the move will drive a sizeable proportion of this data traffic growth.”
Operators must plan to accommodate this projected explosion in data traffic. “Operators that provide low-cost, flat-rate data tariffs will address consumer demand, spur growth in data revenues and keep investors happy. However, consumer appetite for browsing, accessing applications and consuming downloaded or streamed audio or video content does have the potential to cripple mobile networks,” commented David MacQueen, Director of the Wireless Media Strategies service. Operators must address these potential issues in a variety of ways.
Phil Kendall, Director, Wireless Network Strategies service, noted: “Management of data traffic load is the biggest current priority for mobile operators, with the compression of web and video content to handsets an important element in any strategy. Operators need to use pricing in order to guide traffic away from peak times and to get more creative with the use of WiFi, which could offload smartphone data."