Smartcomm LLC Review: Global Data Traffic to Grow 16 times by 2017

Share Article

Global mobile data traffic is expected to grow 16 times in the next 4 years, going from 433,000 terabytes per month in 2011, to nearly 7 million terabytes per month in 2016

A market strategy consulting firm focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry, iGR, conducted a new study on mobile data traffic to help forecast where traffic will be in the next few years.

The firm's research began with the following key questions:

    > What consists of mobile data traffic?
    > What is mobile data usage like today?
    > How does mobile data usage change over the forecast period?
    > What are the drivers of mobile data traffic growth?
    > What are some differences in mobile data use by geographic region?

iGR's concluded research, Bloomberg reports, shows that global mobile data traffic is expected to grow 16 times in the next 4 years, going from 433,000 terabytes per month in 2011, to nearly 7 million terabytes per month in 2016. This forecast does not include Wi-Fi traffic, and only takes into consideration mobile data networks including 3G and 4G.

How does iGR define mobile data traffic?
The company estimates the amount of bandwidth consumed by a given activity, such as checking email, listening to music or watching a streaming video, etc. It then estimates how much traffic is generated by this specific activity each time it is used, and how often an end user will take part in the specific activity in a given period of time.

"To the casual observer, it seems obvious that mobile data traffic is increasing simply due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR. "But the reality is that far more bandwidth is used on mobile data networks than many people believe. And we expect the situation to get worse -- the growth for mobile data traffic in all regions of the world is strong, resulting in an astronomical growth in global mobile data traffic."

In basic terms, the larger a mobile device is, the more bandwidth it consumes. For example, a laptop connection will generate far more traffic than a smartphone. Why? Because a laptop was created to consume a great deal of data traffic, and it is also set up to have lots of applications open at once, while smartphone users typically engage in only one to two applications at a time.

With that said, according to Pew Research, nearly 50% of Americans own a smartphone, on top of which they own a laptop (61%) and a tablet (18%). If you do the math, that's a lot of devices soaking up a lot of bandwidth. The chart below shows the increasing trends of gadget ownership. Not surprisingly, the only trend continually decreasing is the ownership of desktop computers

(see image for reference)
It is no wonder that global data traffic is increasing. The problem with the increase is ensuring that networks are prepared with enough spectrum and bandwidth capacity to handle consumer habits.

About Smartcomm, LLC
Phoenix-based Smartcomm, LLC provides consulting services and opportunities in the wireless communications industry to both individual and institutional clients. The company specializes in opportunities to acquire spectrum to be used for mobile broadband, through the filing of license applications, participation in FCC public auctions, or acquisitions in the secondary market.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marketing Department
Smartcomm LLC
Email >
Follow us on
Visit website