Smartphones, iPad to eat network data traffic

Smartphones to hit 87% of mobile traffic by 2014

According to a report on US mobile operator network traffic, smartphones and connected computing devices will be the primary drivers of data traffic over the next five years. By 2014, says ABI Research, these device categories will generate more than 87 percent of total mobile network data traffic for US operators.

Smartphone traffic will be led by the iPhone and similar devices such as the Samsung Omnia and Motorola Droid. These devices invite more customer interactivity, which can lead to extremely high data traffic consumption. Computing devices include laptops, netbooks, smartbooks, and media tablet such as the Apple iPad.

Report findings and supporting data include:

  • Smartphone traffic was the share leader in 2009; by 2014 connected computing devices will be the share leader
  • Connected computing device traffic will grow by 90 percent through 2014
  • Growth of Android, iPhone and similar smartphones will cause average smartphone traffic levels to grow by 48 percent over the forecast period
  • The iPhone and AT&T's high smartphone share caused its network to carry the most traffic in 2009. AT&T will also lead in 2010
  • Verizon will become the traffic leader by 2011 as a result of its high mobile broadband subscriber base and increasing penetration of customers with Android and similar high data-use smartphone devices.

What can carriers do to manage mobile network data traffic? Practice director Dan Shey comments, "Carriers will need to use their entire toolkit of options. Traditional means of increasing cell site capacity through backhaul additions, spectrum reallocations and in-building distributed antenna systems are only part of the story.

"Other methods needed include FMC offloading, more efficient browsers, and pricing and offer management."

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