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Wednesday, 07 December 2016 11:18

Mobile data traffic soaring to new heights, says Juniper


Mobile data traffic generated by smartphones, tablets, connected cars, and other M2M modules around the world is forecast to reach 129,000 petabytes by 2018, equivalent to approximately 14 billion hours of 4K ultra high definition video streaming, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The report found that as 4K content becomes both more widely available and adopted by consumers, average data usage will increase leading to almost a “threefold rise in cellular traffic” to exceed 318,000PB by 2021.

Juniper says this will put pressure on network providers who will see greater usage. “Indeed Sprint recently collaborated with Ericsson to trial 4K content delivery over 5G networks,” report author Nitin Bhas says.

According to Juniper, the use of Wi-Fi by operators for data offload has boosted the build-out of Wi-Fi hotspots in recent years, with the research firm predicting that this will lead to over 60% of global mobile data traffic being offloaded via Wi-Fi networks in 2017.

But, Bhas warns, however, that a high QoE (quality of experience) while offloading data users will be essential for future network monetisation strategies.

“Operators need to support a user-experience comparable to that of cellular. Whilst progress has been made in, for example, refining handoffs between cellular and Wi-Fi, there is still room for improvement by implementing better network management and planning tools,” Bhas says.

Here’s Juniper’s mobile data traffic highlights for the period 2017 to 2021:

•    Global average smartphone cellular data usage will reach 5GB per month by 2021, up from 2GB in 2017.

•    Global average tablet cellular data usage to exceed 3.3GB per month by 2021, up from 1.5GB in 2017.

•    Video to account for 60% of global mobile data traffic in 2017, before approaching 80% by 2021..

•     Traffic generated by cellular connected M2M systems will approach 6,000PB by 2021, dominated by the automotive sector.

•    Cellular-connected fixed devices including notebooks and eReaders will onload 20% of total traffic to mobile networks in 2017.

•    Data traffic generated by smartphone, tablets and featurephones will grow fourfold between 2017 and 2021 to reach 774,000PB, equivalent to 81 billion hours of 4K streaming.

To access the Juniper whitepaper — Wi-Fi Calling Operators 2017 — and to view the full research report click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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