8. November 2011 17:24
The growing popularity of the smartphone is driving mobile data usage out of sight, although one has to wonder what people do on their phones all day. A new report by Ericsson says that mobile data traffic will increase ten-fold over the next five years and there will be five billion mobile broadband subscriptions by the end of 2016. In the current year alone subscriptions will hit 900 million and smartphone traffic will triple. In the oddest statistic from the report Ericsson claims that with more than 30 per cent of world’s population living in urban areas by the end of the forecast period, users occupying less than one per cent of the Earth’s land area will generate 60 per cent of the mobile traffic. If this is true one has to ask the question-can mobile networks in these dense urban areas cope with this volume of mobile traffic? Even with the new technologies such as LTE coming along will it be possible to deliver a good service to all the customers, particularly as Ericsson claims the huge increase in mobile data usage will be driven largely by demand for video content which is notoriously profligate in its use of bandwidth. Even with the massive investments operators are going to have to make over the next five years squeezing all this usage into the limited radio spectrum available will be a tough task. Makes you long for the dim and distant days when all people wanted to do was make phone calls and send the occasional SMS.