Bulk of mobile data traffic over Wi-Fi by 2019


Equivalent to over 115,000 Petabytes of Data, or over 6 Billion Blu-ray Movies

Mobile data traffic carried over Wi-Fi networks will experience a four-fold increase in the next four years, new research has forecast.

Wi-Fi networks will carry almost 60% of smartphone and tablet data traffic by 2019, reaching over 115,000 Petabytes (PB) by 2019. This is compared to just under 30,000PB this year.

The new study from Juniper Research has found that global mobile data traffic generated from devices including smartphones, feature phones and tablets is forecast to exceed 197,000PB in total in 2019.

Mobile data offload, which refers to data migration from a mobile network to a Wi-Fi network, offers several key benefits to industry stakeholders, Juniper said. Offload not only addresses the issue of patchy coverage, but also has the potential for the creation of new services such as voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi, or Wi-Fi Calling) and to increase the usage of existing 3G and 4G services.

However, the research cautioned that Wi-Fi offload brings challenges to operators of effective deployment and ROI.

Research author Nitin Bhas commented: “Operators need to deploy own Wi-Fi zones in problematic areas or partner with Wi-Fi hotspot operators and aggregators such as iPass and Boingo.”

Additionally, operators are also converting residential customers to community hotspot providers, especially in the US. According to Wi-Fi service provider iPass, there were nearly 40 million community hotspots in 2014 and expects this to more than double this year to nearly 90 million.

North America and West Europe will together account for over 50% of the global mobile data being offloaded in 2019, while developing markets such as the Indian Subcontinent are forecast to witness higher growth rates and increased market share of the total mobile data traffic over the next five years; with operators in India already witnessing close to 100% year on year growth in data usage.

Additionally, Juniper estimates global smartphone data consumption to be nearly twice the amount of tablet traffic in 2015.


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