Mobile data traffic continues to soar

Mobile analyst Chetan Sharma estimates the average U.S. mobile user has consumed 1.2GB/month of data this year, up 74% from a 2012 level of 690MB. Meanwhile, average global mobile data consumption is pegged at 240MB, up 71% from a 2012 level of 140MB.

Sharma also observes data consumption is considerably higher among certain demographics: Swedish mobile broadband subs consume over 7GB/month, and some U.S. Android devices consume over 4GB/month.

Contributing factors: Surging smartphone penetration rates, rapid 4G and (in emerging markets) 3G adoption, growing sales of large-screen smartphones, and the popularity of mobile video services (especially YouTube).

AT&T recently mentioned it's still seeing 50% Y/Y growth in data consumption per smartphone user.

The U.S. has a major lead on many foreign markets in both smartphone and 4G penetration. Thus, the data consumption growth seen in the U.S., along with the capacity crunches and network investments it has spawned, could be a sign of things to come overseas.

Companies that derive a large percentage of their sales from mobile infrastructure and/or carrier Wi-Fi spending: ALU, NOK, ERIC, ALLT, PKT, RKUS, UBNT, DRWI, CRNT.

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Comments (13)
  • Timothy Bryan
    , contributor
    Comments (984) | Send Message
    Good news....
    26 Dec 2013, 07:15 PM Reply Like
  • Andreas Hopf
    , contributor
    Comments (18479) | Send Message
    Uh, only ~180MB/month data usage on average with my Nokia Lumia 920. Instead of reading boring news, information and e-mails, I must start watching moar vidz to keep up...


    ALU, ERIC = buy. NOK = keep.
    26 Dec 2013, 07:37 PM Reply Like
  • BBcool
    , contributor
    Comments (1081) | Send Message
    nice port!
    9 Jan 2014, 04:29 PM Reply Like
  • Skylander2011
    , contributor
    Comments (454) | Send Message
    i run over 1o giga easy every month on my cellphones..:)..
    26 Dec 2013, 07:40 PM Reply Like
  • Clayton Rulli
    , contributor
    Comments (3408) | Send Message
    (CCI) long
    26 Dec 2013, 07:43 PM Reply Like
  • Lakeaffect
    , contributor
    Comments (1454) | Send Message
    WorldCom is saying it will double every nine months. Wink Wink.
    26 Dec 2013, 09:42 PM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
    After travelling this holiday season, there's always a shortage of electricity plugs in the airports. Stuff is plugged in everywhere, everybody is glued to their mobile devices. Routine for the kids to be on their devices during social events.
    26 Dec 2013, 09:50 PM Reply Like
  • Genesis Housing
    , contributor
    Comments (402) | Send Message
    how do analysts have telco capex, for example in europe, growing only low single digit against this backdrop?
    26 Dec 2013, 11:06 PM Reply Like
  • manfredthree
    , contributor
    Comments (3103) | Send Message
    @genesis... A couple thoughts. First Telco capex has a limiter in what the Telco's can allocate to capex regardless. Second, its an annual number so compounding is a major factor over ten years.
    Third, and perhaps most relevant to your question , if you were to ask a group of analysts anywhere to draw you three stick pictures of predominant network infrastructures for dense urban, suburban and rural, then ask for each to pictorialize "now vs ten years out", nine out of ten would freeze. Its just a lot easier and safer to stick '8%' into the model , who is going to question it ?
    30 Dec 2013, 08:36 AM Reply Like
  • billeebong
    , contributor
    Comments (179) | Send Message
    @Derek, I get past that with an iBattz with my iPhone... Case comes with two batteries that provide two day's worth of power... used one on a bicycle ride across the USA this with data and location services posting my data live online eight to ten hours straight. Never ran out of juice and to top it off, there is even a lithium chunk battery that has four or more times the capacity... have no interest in the company other than they sponsored me for the trip and this is just an endorsement by me for their products...iBattz rocks!
    27 Dec 2013, 07:43 AM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
    Nice work billebong. I have a travel agent friend who showed me that case and she really liked it also because of the extended battery life.


    I am really surprised more companies aren't using solar to at least minimize that amount of power being used but maybe there's just not enough real estate on the device itself to have the solar contribute anything meaningful.
    27 Dec 2013, 12:41 PM Reply Like
  • ewmpsi
    , contributor
    Comments (1697) | Send Message
    As broadband speeds get better and more readily available, in the U.S. we’re seeing more people connect all devices to the internet using a wireless hotspot or wireless "internet sharing" enabled device as a hub. Question, are we seeing a declined in "wired" connections spurring a growth rate in "wireless" or are growth rates and share stable in wired connections and we're truly "bull-on" in mobile growth. I ask because if we are seeing both the bandwidth in mobile being bled by multiple devices on one "paying-subscriber" plan and on the wired broadband front seeing subscriber decline, we’re probably headed toward higher rates therefore a curbing of growth rates in mobile in the near future in some markets.


    The counter argument would be that as newer iterations of wireless technology roll-out and the infrastructure build-out increases, the services become commodities and the price goes down and the growth rate sky-rockets. I say this as someone locked into an old "unlimited" wireless plan that AT&T no longer offers, I never think about usage. My wife however must babysit her usage to stay within her plan constraints. I also say this as someone who has a wired account with many devices using the same connection over Wi-Fi, I experience "throttling" frequently (I can't prove it). I look forward to the day when none of the aforementioned are issues and low cost of service is the norm.
    27 Dec 2013, 11:59 AM Reply Like
  • manfredthree
    , contributor
    Comments (3103) | Send Message
    Nothing moves without money behind it. Ability to pay and economic growth will be huge factors in deployment speed and rates everywhere, regardless of the technology. Providers have to build incrementally on each deployment they already have to avoid blowing their capex out. The answer will be only as simple as the question.
    30 Dec 2013, 08:52 AM Reply Like
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