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4G LTE Traffic Expected to Increase 200 Percent This Year

by Todd Haselton | March 18, 2013March 18, 2013 11:00 pm PST

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LTE networks are beginning to take off in Europe and T-Mobile USA will begin covering the U.S. with LTE later this fall. As a result, ABI Research believes that 4G LTE traffic will increase more than 200 percent this year alone.

The research firm found that there was 13,412 petabytes of mobile traffic in 2012, a figure that was 69 percent higher than the amount of mobile data recorded in 2011. With the increase in the speeds available to mobile subscribers, ABI Research doesn’t see the figure slowing down any time soon. “In developed markets, 4G is rapidly gaining traction. Verizon Wireless, for example, has reported that 50 percent of its data usage is on 4G LTE,” Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research, said.

ABI Research said that applications are great for wireless carriers because they help customers consume more data, essentially creating more expensive wireless bills. Still, other applications such as WhatsApp and Skype allow for free VoIP calls and text messages.

Global LTE Traffic will Grow by Over 200% in 2013, Says ABI Research

SINGAPORE–()–Total mobile data traffic had amounted to 13,412 petabytes by the end of 2012; an increase of 69% year-on-year. 3G data usage occupied 46% of the total with an increase of 130% year-on-year. 4G LTE traffic is accelerating, with a growth rate of 207% in 2013 compared to 99% for 3G traffic. “In developed markets, 4G is rapidly gaining traction. Verizon Wireless, for example, has reported that 50% of its data usage is on 4G LTE,” commented Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

“The emergent growth in enterprise apps does have potential. Both ATT and Orange have invested in enterprise apps, setting up their own in-house service teams”

Underpinning mobile data usage are smartphone apps; their downloads, and the traffic usage they generate, has become a significant contributor to mobile data traffic. Smartphone app downloads were 36.2 billion for 2012, up 88% compared to 2011. Asia-Pacific has overtaken North America (25%), with 39% of total smartphone app downloads. IP/web browsing constitutes 51% of total mobile data traffic in 2012. However, by 2018, large mobile device screens and 4G data-speeds will stimulate mobile video streaming/downloads to account for 56% of total traffic.

Smartphone apps are a double-edged sword. While they promote the adoption of mobile data tariffs, Over-The-Top Instant Messaging and VoIP services are threatening the operators’ messaging and voice revenue models. However, operators are striving to benefit from the data usage and not just get burdened with data traffic. “The emergent growth in enterprise apps does have potential. Both ATT and Orange have invested in enterprise apps, setting up their own in-house service teams,” added Jake Saunders, VP for forecasting. “Orange is offering Health Trusts mobile-centric ID authentication that allows them to offer confidential and secure mobile medical services that can enhance aftercare support and increase efficiency.”

The “Mobile Data Traffic & Usage” Market Data provides an in-depth resource of traffic and end-user related metrics at a global, regional, and mobile carrier level. These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Traffic (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/mobile-traffic/) Database.

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 visitwww.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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