With the number of smartphones available in the market increasing, the number of people now accessing the Internet through their mobile handsets is shooting up very quickly. This could lead to mobile traffic data jams in the near future.
Mobile analysts from Informa have predicted that mobile online usage is set to grow to 25 times its present levels by 2012.
While this sounds like great news for mobile operators, the revenues are not likely to grow at the same rate. In fact, it is expected that mobile revenues may only double in the same time period.
Also, mobile networks are not yet geared to accommodate such a sudden growth spurt. This may very well lead to widespread mobile data traffic jams in time to come.
Dimitris Mavrakis, an analyst with Informa, says, “The decoupling of revenues from traffic presented operators with a problem because it deprived the phone firms of cash at a time when their networks were in need of upgrading.” He further informs that the hardware required to build the next generation mobile networks that could handle such high traffic will not be easily available until late 2010, thus further aggravating the problems of mobile operators.
Graham Carey of Bytemobile said that the fact that many laptops and smartphones are always in the ‘on’ mode further compounds these problems. The flat rate pricing which had been introduced to encourage users to access the mobile net, now seems to be having a boomerang effect, as users are using it extensively while mobile operators are not earning as much as they would, if the users were being billed at an hourly rate.
For now, mobile operators are using methods of optimization, like shrinking files, wherever possible without affecting the quality of the download.
John Spindler, Vice President Product Management at network optimization firm ADC, said that the unequal distribution and sudden spikes in mobile data use were also adding to the problem.