Mobile data traffic growth doubled over one year

Categories: Industry

Total monthly mobile voice and data as measured by Ericsson
  • Doubled in twelve months, from Q2 2010 to Q2 2011
  • For active users with high-end phones, weekly traffic volume is similar regardless of operating system (OS)
  • Online video is the activity that accounts for the largest percentage of data traffic for top 5 - 10% of smartphone users, higher than for e-mail and web browsing

Mobile data traffic continues to grow, doubling from the second quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2011, and users with modern, capable devices are increasingly using their smartphones to access the Internet. This is according to findings of a new measurement from Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), to be released as part of Akamai’s The State of the Internet report.

The second quarter of 2011 displayed eight percent growth, which reflects normal seasonal fluctuation. In more detail, the mobile data growth patterns reveal that the quality of a smartphone affects which applications people use and the length of time they surf the mobile internet.

As defined by Ericsson, an active smartphone user generates more than 1 MB traffic per day. Factors including screen size, age and price of the smartphone have a stronger correlation with median traffic than OS (i-phone-iOS, Android, Symbian, etc). It is notable that in North America, high-end smartphones generate twice the traffic than comparable smartphones at the operators analyzed in Asia and Europe.

Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson’s Business Unit Networks, comments: "Our market research confirms that high-end smartphone users are increasingly accessing the internet on their phones. This underscores the importance of having networks that are smart, scaleable and provide superior performance to deliver on expected user experience."

Additionally, Ericsson has found that among heavy users, the cumulative data generated by video is significantly higher than for other activities. The top 5 to 10 percent of smartphone users are willing to spend up to 40 minutes a day watching online video. However, the average user spends about 30 seconds a day watching online video.

The implication is that high-end users are driving traffic and demand for prioritized services. Wibergh continues: "That is why we believe tiered pricing models in combination with traffic management are key for operators as well as consumers."

These findings are based on Ericsson mobile broadband measurements during the second quarter of 2011 at four different operators in mature markets in Europe, Asia and North America. Ericsson’s presence in more than 180 countries, and its customer base representing more than 1,000 networks enables Ericsson to measure mobile voice and data volumes. The result is a representative base for calculating world total mobile traffic in 2G, 3G, and 4G networks (not including DVB-H, WiFi, and Mobile WiMax).

More extensive information on traffic trends will be released in an Ericsson report on network traffic and market conditions, to be published prior to Ericsson’s Capital Markets Day gathering in Stockholm in November.

Notes to editors

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Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 90,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 203.3 billion (USD 28.2 billion) in 2010. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.

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