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How Mobile Networks will Manage Data Velocity


The global volume of mobile data traffic is now forecast to exceed 107 exabytes in 2017, according to the the latest market study by ABI Research. This worldwide total mobile network traffic velocity will be eight times more than what is expected during 2012.

But how significant is this anticipated growth rate, exactly?

ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen points out that although the numbers may seem really big, they shouldn't be misinterpreted as yet another warning of the unmanageable scenario that mobile network operators often try to portray -- mostly for their public policy and regulatory relief objectives.

Markkanen says, "It looks like 2015 will be the last year when the traffic volume will grow by more than 50 percent annually. And, that will happen despite of the fact that the monthly average per wireless subscriber, worldwide, will increase to almost 1.5 gigabytes by the end of our forecasting period."

A lot of the overall data consumption will depend on how much of on-demand video content will in the end be delivered over cellular networks, so changes implemented by individual content providers may have far-reaching effects on the outcome.

Netflix, for example, recently added to its iOS app a simple function by which users can limit their viewing to Wi-Fi only and thereby avoid overage charges. Besides accidental video streams, app downloads and updates are another activity that can be easily steered onto wireline networks.

High-end Android smartphones, for example, have developed a reputation of being the worst data consumption offenders, but ABI believes that is to a great extent just because Google has paid so little attention to the issue when designing its OS platform.

More recently, though, both Android and Google Play have implemented improvements that make it much easier for the end-users to monitor and control their smartphone data usage.

According to ABI's assessment, inadvertent data consumption has thus far been a surprisingly large source of traffic, but in the next couple of years we will see more and more of relatively quick fixes in the OS and the application levels.

They will substantially ease this needless burden on telecom networks. Moreover, all savvy mobile network service providers will eventually acknowledge the many benefits of Wi-Fi hotspot deployment and use that strategic asset to enhance their customer experience.

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