Cisco: Global Mobile Data Traffic Explodes

Mobile data traffic continues to rise at a rapid growth rate.

According to a new report from Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), mobile traffic in 2010 grew by 159 percent and is set to accelerate even more in the years ahead.

Global mobile data traffic was reported to be 237 petabytes per month in 2010, as speeds increased. According to Cisco, the average mobile network connection speed for smartphones in 2010 was 1,040 Kbps which is an increase from the 625 Kbps reported for 2009.

"Video consumes more data than a simple SMS message," Doug Webster, director of strategic communications, worldwide service provider marketing at Cisco, told InternetNews.com.

Cisco is forecasting that mobile data video traffic will continue to grow and that by 2015, video will represent 66 percent of all mobile data.

Most of the growth in mobile data consumption is coming from consumers. Webster noted that 80 percent of mobile traffic is generated by consumers with businesses representing only 20 percent.

Tiered pricing and data caps for mobile usage has had dampening affect on consumer usage of mobile data. Thomas Barnett, senior manager, service provider marketing at Cisco told InternetNews.com, that in 2009, the top 1 percent of mobile subscribers accounted for 30 percent of mobile data traffic.

"In 2010, we see that the top 1 percent represents 20 percent of mobile data traffic," Barnett said. "That decrease has been picked up by the rest of subscribers that are now using more mobile data because they have new devices that can do more things."

Barnett noted that tablets as well as more powerful notebooks that have mobile connectivity are also helping to increase mobile data demand.

Different mobile operating system platforms generate different amounts of data usage. According to Cisco's data, the Apple iPhone generates 1.75 more traffic for service providers than what they are currently seeing from Google Android powered devices.

The growth in mobile data is also helping to drive increased demand for wired networking gear as well.

"With growing amounts of data hitting cellular towers, service providers are increasingly using Ethernet to connect them," Webster said. Webster added that mobile data traffic isn't exactly the same as fixed data traffic, as the challenges facing mobile data delivery are different.

"The challenge on mobile data is that the devices are moving around," Webster said. "So there is increased intelligence that is required to handle the various signaling that is going on."

Mobile and fixed data aren't, however, entirely different when it comes to what users expect.

"There are some clear similarities in how we view fixed network users and mobile network users," Barnett said. "They all want the same thing: bigger, better faster is good on the fixed network and the same holds true on the mobile network."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

TAGS:

wireless, mobile, networking, Cisco, mobile data

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