Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ericsson’s Mobility Report finds 65% year-over-year growth in mobile data traffic

There are two must-read, vendor-led research market reports. The first is Cisco’s Visual Network Index series, including its mobility edition.  The second is the Ericsson Mobility Report, the latest edition of which was released earlier this week. Both companies base their reports on actual data traffic provided by their service provider customers worldwide. Both companies also extrapolate current trends to provide forecasts for several years into the future. In the past, it has been our view that the Ericsson predictions have tended to be on the conservative side, whereas the Cisco’s predictions have tended to be a bit rosier. 

For instance, in our view, Ericsson’s LTE forecast from several years back appeared predicted a long life for 3G networks in Europe. Mostly, this has turned out to be true, although it seemed that the early LTE success in the Japanese and the U.S. markets would be easily replicated in Western Europe.

This year, the Ericsson Mobility Report turned up one number that is anything but conservative:  on a global basis, in Q3 2017, data traffic grew around 10 percent quarter-on-quarter and around 65 percent year-on-year.  The volume of traffic of course always rises year-over-year, but it is significant that the growth rate has been rising even as smartphones have reached the saturation point in developed markets some time ago. The driving factor is video consumption on mobiles.


Ericsson finds that North America continues to have the highest usage of mobile data.Here traffic is expected to reach 7.1 GigaBytes (GB) per month per smartphone by the end of the year and increase to 48GB by the end of 2023. Western Europe has the second highest usage, with traffic set to reach 4.1GB by the end of 2017 and 28GB by the end of 2023.


But surely the global growth rate for mobile data consumption has been boosted by Reliance Jio’s attack on the Indian market with unlimited data. Ericsson calculates that average mobile data usage in India will reach 3.9GB per month per smartphone at the end of 2017 – and remember that Jio still has only a fraction of the Indian population as subcribers.  There are ten other major operators in the battle. The Ericsson forecast call for data traffic to reach18GB per month per smartphone in India in 2023.

Globally, Ericsson is predicting that total mobile data traffic for all devices is anticipated to increase by 8 times during the forecast period, reaching around 110EB per month by the end of 2023. 

Much more is online. The Ericsson Mobility Report is recommended reading for anyone tracking the development of the networking business.

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