Worldwide Mobile Data Traffic Will Exceed 107 Exabytes in 2017, But That Doesn’t Imply a Data Tsunami

Oyster Bay, New York - 25 Jul 2012

​The global volume of mobile data traffic will exceed 107 exabytes in 2017, shows a new forecast from ABI Research. This total traffic volume will be eight times more than what is expected for 2012. But how significant a growth rate would this represent, exactly?

ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen points out that although the numbers may sound seemingly big, they shouldn’t be understood as yet another warning of the untamable data tsunami mobile operators often try to portray for regulatory reasons. Markkanen says, “It looks like 2015 will be the last year when the traffic volume will grow by more than 50% 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. 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 fixed networks.

High-end Android smartphones, for example, have developed a reputation of being the worst sort of data hogs, but that is to a great extent just because Google has paid so little attention to the issue when designing its platform. More recently, though, both Android and Google Play have seen improvements that make it much easier for the end-users to monitor and control their data usage.

Jake Saunders, VP for core forecasting, concludes, “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 networks.”

ABI Research’s “Mobile Data Traffic Forecasts” product is updated quarterly. It is part of the company’s Mobile Traffic Research Service which includes additional Competitive Analyses, Vendor Matrices, Market Data, and Insights.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

 

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