Informa: Smartphones generate 65 per cent of all mobile traffic – congestion remedies urgently needed!

Smart Phones Produce Bulk of Mobile Traffic:

According to Informa’s Telecom and Media research unit, smartphone use accounts for 65 per cent of all mobile cellular traffic worldwide.  This, despite smartphone penetration running at just 13 per cent,  The firm predicts smarphone network usage is set to increase exponentially over the next five years’  Informa found the average traffic per smartphone user increasing by 700 per cent by 2015.
Smartphone users across the globe currently average 85MB of traffic per month, with Apple’s iPhone proving the handset on which most
traffic is generated. Devices running the Android OS sit behind the iPhone in terms of traffic generation, and the Google-backed OS will not overtake Apple in this metric, Informa said, because Android will be deployed across low-, mid- and highuser segments.

“The traffic disparity between smartphone and non-smartphone is most pronounced in North America, where 86 per cent of mobile data traffic is currently generated by smartphone users,” said Malik Kamal-Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. Average traffic per user (ATPU) for smartphones in the US is set to hit 776MB/month by 2015, Informa said.

Growth in Western Europe will also be impressive, hitting 736MB/month in 2015, up from less than 44MB/month in 2009. The highest use will remain in the advanced markets of Japan and South Korea, which currently average 199MB/month and 271MB/month.

Comment:  We think that the increasing use of tablet PCs (e.g. iPAD), netbooks and eReaders will generate more mobile traffic than smart phones in coming years. 

Coping with the Explosion in Mobile Data Traffic:

How will mobile operators deal with the surge in traffic growth?  Informa’s James Middleton+ believes there are three different approaches to alleviate network congestion:

– Move to LTE

-Employ some kind of offload strategy (femtocells) or network sharing

-Deploy optimization technologies, like compression

“The main consideration is that the traffic problem for many operators has already arrived—or will do very soon—and LTE is somewhat expensive and also has a long rollout cycle. An offload strategy may be more affordable and quicker to roll out but it will still take some time to complete. Which leaves us with optimisation, a system which is cheaper still and could potentially be deployed within weeks or months.”

*See Informa article: Traffic Police, which may be accesed from the above url, 

Our Opinion: 

Here’s our list of congestion avoidance methods: offloading mobile traffic to WiFi hot spots and femtocells, acquiring more spectrum, shrinking cell size which permits more frequency re-use, moving to OFDMA technologies (like LTE and mobile WiMAX), creating Self Organizing Networks (SONs) that reassign subscribers to base stations based on existing network load and avoiding congestion, using compression on video and large data files, and invoking some form of QoS/ traffic class management.

If there’s sufficient reader interest, I’ll wirte an article expaning on this important issue.  Please let me know!