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Global Annual Telecom Data Traffic Volume Growth

In 2011, the global annual telecom data traffic volume will total almost 8,000 petabytes. That volume will grow at a CAGR of 50 percent over the following years, exceeding 60,000 petabytes in 2016 -- over seven times more than in 2011.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the year-on-year growth will be the fastest in 2012 (58 percent) and 2013 (56 percent), slightly slowing down thereafter.

While as of 2011 the web and Internet traffic category is the largest source of traffic, one of the main reasons for the future robust growth is the increasing amount of video traffic.

ABI Research practice director Neil Strother says, "There are basically two types of video use cases that drive heavy traffic: clips from YouTube (and similar sites) that are often shared via other social media, as well as lengthier content like series and even films (e.g. Netflix or LoveFilm video streaming services)."

According to ABI's assessment, video and TV streaming should surpass web and Internet traffic in 2015.

The bigger its screen, the more entertainment the device typically delivers: laptops, media tablets and other devices larger than handsets mimic patterns seen in wired broadband usage, especially when it comes to video.

The increasing uptake of such products is thus another major driver. As a result, the traffic generated by devices other than handsets will grow from about 65 percent of the total in 2011 to over three-fourths in 2016.

How can broadband service providers make the most of this rapidly-changing market?

ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen says, "Pricing and data policy are relatively inexpensive ways for operators to differentiate their offerings and ease network congestion, if compared to investments in infrastructure. Operators should better align the pricing and the allowance of data plans with usage patterns. It is an area with a lot of scope for innovation."

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