The Wireless Data Challenge

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

The Wireless Data Challenge

We’ve all read about the surge in wireless data traffic which has been happening for the past few years and is expected to continue going forward. You probably know people who own a smartphone and an iPad and a laptop and use all of those devices. Or you know people who are seemingly glued to their iPhones all day. So in your little world, you get it. But it is hard to comprehend what this means on a global basis. 

For the last few years, the Cisco Visual Networking Index report has been a good way to check out what’s going on. Simply go to the website and download the report. There was an update published right before Mobile World Congress and it has some excellent little tidbits including:

        - Mobile video traffic exceeded 50% for the first time last year

        - Smartphones represent only 12% of total global handsets in use today, but they
          represent over 82% of total global handset traffic

And that last point holds the key to whether the mobile data surge will continue.  Because if smartphones represent only 12% of total global handsets today, what will happen if they represent say, 50% of total global handsets? The biggest growth potential is in developing countries. 

Dialogic collaborated with IDC Asia recently on a Telecom Trends and Insight report called “Confronting Telecom’s Network Challenge.” While this report is specific to Asia, certainly there are parallels with the developing parts of Asia and the developing parts of Africa and South America. The report states “Perhaps the biggest opportunity for service providers across the region will be in emerging Asia, with the introduction of US$100 smartphones. For the past 5 years, the costs of BlackBerrys and iPhones have been prohibitive for the vast majority of the population in emerging Asia, but this does not negate the aspirations or strong desire for mobile technology in these countries.”

In other words, new economical smartphones will make a huge impact on mobile data traffic! In next week’s blog, I will explore these impacts.

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