Mobile Goes Data Mad

Having recently got back from several weeks travelling around Europe, including a fair chunk in the UK, me and my 3G data dongles have been keeping close company, as the very WLAN products that I’ve tested over the years continue to fail to work when as badly deployed as they generally are in hotels, hotspots etc. Must be a biz opp here?

So, when a brand spankers new report out from Ericsson (or should I say Sony?) tells us that mobile data traffic will go berserk over the next five years, I think beyond the “well Ericsson would say that wouldn’t they” and say it should be paid close attention to. And, besides, I am Eric’s son, so we have something in common.

Headlines from the report are:

  • Mobile data traffic will grow 10-fold between 2011 and 2016, mainly driven by video.
  • Mobile broadband subscriptions grew by 60 percent in one year and are expected to grow from 900 million in 2011 to almost 5 billion in 2016.
  • By 2016, users living on less than 1 percent of the Earth’s total land area are set to generate around 60 percent of mobile traffic.

Regarding the latter point, I reckon I know who’s generating most of that 60% of traffic – it’s my Andorra/London mate Kevin Malone – he’s now got a 25MB per day data tarrif that he can use anywhere in Europe with no additional charges – yes, even Andorra – and he makes full use of it. Now this is just the tip of the data iceberg. Imagine if everyone you know takes out a similar contract and starts using it to the full?

So, we’re looking at a 10-fold increase in mobile data traffic.That’s why I test a lot of optimisation products for a living. And all those vendors, talking in recent years of the era of unlimited bandwidth? Very funny indeed…

And it’s not just the mobile networks that will get choked. Consider if just 1% of companies moved their (let’s say currently “in-house”) IT activities onto the public cloud? Do you think the Internet would cope? Don’t think I need to answer that one…