James Middleton

September 25, 2008

2 Min Read
Mobile data usage gets comfortable at home

More than half of all mobile data traffic is predicted to be generated at home within the next five years, with voice not far behind.

According to research released Thursday by analyst house and telecoms.com parent Informa Telecoms & Media, the growth in home usage of mobile services will drive the business case for femtocells.

Mobile data traffic generated in the home environment was estimated at 40 per cent in 2007, but by 2013 it is expected to reach 58 per cent. The analyst expects femtocell deployments to help operators offload up to 8 per cent of total mobile traffic to fixed networks via end user broadband lines.

The growth in data usage will be driven by users initiating longer and richer data sessions in the relaxed environment of their home, browsing the web, watching longer and richer video clips, downloading music and video content, exchanging pictures, or using VoIP and on-line chatting.

And in order to cope with this explosive growth, operators have invested heavily in 3.5G+ coverage in busy urban areas. But these areas are also data hungry hotzones, where the majority of smartphone and connected notebook users reside, which will eventually result in overloaded networks and lower bandwidth per user. This isn’t helped by the poor ability of 3G to penetrate concrete walls.

As a result, Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa, believes that if implemented properly, mobile access at home (MAH) solutions including femtocells, UMA/dual-mode, VCC/dual-mode, and alternative technologies are a potential solution.

By allowing operators to offload a substantial part of mobile traffic to the subscriber fixed line, MAH installations could potentially lead to significant savings by relaxing network capacity upgrade requirements and improving the coverage and capacity of mobile broadband access in the home environment.

“In the same way that voice traffic has moved from old fixed line telephony service PSTN to mobile, there is reason to believe that a significant percentage of Internet traffic generation will move away from fixed personal computers to mobile devices including mobile handsets, mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and connected notebooks,” said Saadi. “This does not mean that mobile broadband services will fully substitute fixed broadband, but users will prefer to keep some applications on their mobile or portable devices since these offer greater privacy,” he added.

Driven by lower prices, the analyst also found that mobile voice minutes of use (MoU) in the home environment are also set to rise, approaching 49 per cent of total mobile voice traffic by the end of 2013, compared to 42 per cent in 2008.

The office environment will follow up with 30 per cent of calls, while only 9 per cent of calls will be initiated on the move. The remaining 21 per cent of calls will be generated from other public environments.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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