Feature Article

April 23, 2012

Report: Mobile Devices to Put More Strain on Networks by 2016

A new survey by Juniper Research has found that notebook computers and e-readers will onload 24 percent of traffic onto data networks by 2016, Cellular-News reports.

The prevalence of game consoles, tablets, and smartphones will also increase the load placed on mobile networks, an amount of data reaching over 7,500 petabytes. The figure is due to the increasing prevalence of mobile devices, especially smartphones and tablets. Mobile broadband is also increasing penetration around the world, while wireline broadband seems to be slower to increase its use.

Mobile data will from these devices will reach 56 percent, with 76 percent coming from users in North America and Western Europe.

"Consumers are also tethering their mobile devices with laptops and netbooks for data connectivity, using unlimited-bundled data plans providing them with the advantage of requiring no modem, new configurations or any other gadgets. With the introduction of 4G speeds, users are expected to increasingly take advantage of tethering in the future,” Nitin Bhas, writing for Juniper Research, said.

To deal with the increase of data on their networks, carriers must invest in small cells and wireless backhaul if they expect to be able to keep up with the demand the devices will place on their networks. Though 4G looks promising, it's still an expensive technology and suffers from constrained resources, hence the necessity for small cells.

Juniper Reseach reported on the increasing number of mobile devices earlier this year. Shipments of entry-level smartphones are expected to reach 185 million all over the world by 2015. A large part of the expected growth is the pricing of the hardware. Prices are also expected to drop dramatically as more people around the world are able to afford a smartphone.

“In 2010 operators like Vodafone and Orange kick-started the low-cost smartphone market with devices in the $150 range. Pricing of smartphones will come down to $80 by 2015,” Anthony Cox, an analyst for Juniper Research wrote in that report.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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