As network operators and vendors continue to achieve breakthroughs in upload and download speeds, the growth in total mobile data traffic shows no sign of slowing down. ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) predicts that the average monthly data consumed per wireless subscriber will increase from 445 megabytes in 2014 to 2,289 megabytes by 2019.
In early December 2014, Nokia Networks unveiled its carrier aggregation solution with Ooredoo and China Mobile which was capable of reaching 300 Mbps uplink and 3.8 Gbps downlink. Earlier on, ZTE demonstrated the world’s first 40 MHz LTE uplink carrier aggregation solution.
These breakthroughs and stability of upload and download throughput, once commercially deployed, will enable mobile users to rely on mobile devices as primary entertaining and productivity solutions, in addition to communication.
“Therefore, it is not surprising that applications such as Facebook, YouTube, BitTorrent, and Gmail constitute a major part of the mobile data upload traffic,” says Lian Jye Su, research associate at ABI Research.
The research group expects the global mobile data upload traffic to increase from 6,860 petabytes to over 60,000 petabytes by 2019. Among all the regions, Africa and Latin America will experience the highest increase in mobile upload traffic, albeit from a small base.
As for mobile data download traffic, real-time entertainment in the form of video and TV streaming remains the largest contributor. ABI Research expects the percentage of mobile data download attributed to video and TV streaming to increase from 50% to more than 70% in 2019.
“This change of consumer behavior is a double-edged sword for mobile operators. On the one hand, mobile users are increasingly dependent on mobile data to serve their daily entertainment and productivity demand; on the other hand this change has created an increased challenge on operators to invest more in data network deployment, which is not being compensated because ARPU is declining,” notes Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director, Core Forecasting, ABI Research.