Cisco Study Shows Wireless Data Use Rising Faster Than Expected

Nate Hakken, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

John Chambers, Cisco...

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WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 – A study to track and forecast trends in the global mobile network that was released by Cisco Systems last month shows that mobile internet traffic is rising faster than expected.

The white paper study, which was focused mobile video networking, showed strong data about the world mobile network as a whole. For example, mobile network data traffic almost tripled from 2009 to 2010.  The data attributed most of the growth to smartphone adaptation worldwide. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2010 was 79 MB per month, up from 35 MB per month in 2009. The rise in the newly popular tablet format also made strong inroads to mobile data traffic with a healthy 405 MB per month.

Cisco also showed that overall data usage is spread more evenly across the market, with high-bandwidth users are accounting for a smaller percentage of the overall traffic. The study showed that the top 1 percent of mobile data subscribers generated more than 20 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 30 percent one year ago. Similarly, the top 10 percent of mobile data subscribers now generate approximately 60 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 70 percent at the beginning of the year. The Cisco survey also showed 40 percent of smartphone Internet use takes place in the home, 25 percent at work, and the rest occurs in transit.

Cisco also indicates that smartphone adoption is growing faster than predicted.

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Cisco’s study shows that all users, not just early adopters, are consuming more and higher bandwidth content.  Although a few megabits per second may be enough today, it certainly will not be enough if consumption keeps doubling each year.  If we do not keep pushing fiber closer to the customer, then carriers may not be able to meet the demand in the future.

About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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