Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mobile Data Off-load Driven by a Series of Trends

Juniper Research forecasts that the amount of mobile data traffic generated by smartphones, featurephones and tablets will exceed 90,000 petabytes by 2017 -- that's the equivalent to almost 42 quadrillion tweets or approximately 7 billion blu-ray HD movies.

However, the latest market study from Juniper also finds that only 40 percent of the data generated by these devices will reach the cellular network by 2017.

It's now anticipated that the majority of the mobile data traffic will be carried via a Wi-Fi broadband network connection.

Juniper's new report finds that despite 2012 being a breakthrough year for 4G LTE networks, mobile service providers will still need traffic off-loading technologies -- such as Wi-Fi and small cells -- to augment 4G networks.

"The trend will continue and operators will make use of more integrated units of Wi-Fi and small cells," said Nitin Bhas,senior analyst at Juniper Research.


In the case of indoor cells, where most usage happens, operators effectively have Wi-Fi as the pioneer and are in many ways the leader in this area. Small cells are indeed becoming a part of the equation.

The new report also finds that mobile network operators are beginning to build out networks based on public access small cells and that has had a big effect on the offload ecosystem.

The demand for high bandwidth services from end users and the availability of Wi-Fi on most mobile devices have forced the operators to address consumer expectations around quality and experience, while also creating new opportunities.

Juniper identifies a series of trends that are coming together to greatly accelerate carrier-Wi-Fi adoption, mainly NGH (Next Generation Hotspot) and Hotspot 2.0 specifications along with 5GHz enabled devices.

Carrier-grade small cells along with Wi-Fi will enable high levels of capacity and along with the macro network will provide commercial and financial success to the operator.

Other key findings from the market study include:
  • Notebook PCs and eReaders will on-load over 20 percent of their data traffic to the mobile networks in 2013.
  • North America and Western Europe will have the highest off-load factor throughout the forecast period.