Mobile Traffic Forecast to Reach 131K PB in 2018; Carriers Can Cope If They
Play Their Cards Right, Says ABI Research
SINGAPORE -- June 3, 2013
Global mobile data traffic expanded at 69% in 2012 and is anticipated to grow
at 72% in 2013 to reach 23,000 Peta Bytes. By 2018 total mobile data traffic
will likely eclipse 131,000 Peta Bytes. “There has been much ‘doom-mongering’
about this growth in mobile data traffic but mobile carriers should not panic
just yet. There are indications that mobile carriers have a number of options
to handle the traffic loads,” said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director for
core forecasting at ABI Research.
Based on extensive research for ABI Research’s “Carrier Strategies to
Alleviate the Capacity Crunch” report, we detail the strategic options mobile
carriers can place at their disposal to manage the expanding mobile data
*Radio Access Technology Options: Carriers are commercializing LTE but
there are additional benefits to be gained from quickly adopting the
LTE-Advanced roadmap. LTE-A’s release 10 introduces enhanced Multi-In
Multi-Out antenna technology as well as interference mitigation
technologies such as CoMP and eICIC. A crucial technology is Carrier
Aggregation that will allow mobile operators to “chain” spectrum blocks
for substantial capacity and speed gains.
*Network Architecture Options: Mobile operators can optimize their network
base station assets to make the best possible (re)use of their allocated
spectrum. As of 1Q-2013, only a handful of mobile operators have fully
engaged on a small cell strategy that incorporates Wi-Fi hotspots and
small cell 4G LTE base stations. Operators that have adopted a
comprehensive small cell strategy include Softbank NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom,
KT, Uplus and in the last week, Verizon Wireless.
*Spectrum Options: After speaking with various spectrum stakeholders, ABI
Research estimates that the available spectrum for the mobile cellular
community will increase from around 300 MHz to 1,500 MHz over the next 5
to 10 years. Incumbent mobile operators and equipment vendors would prefer
this spectrum to be allocated on a dedicated basis but the FCC, the EC,
Ofcom, and a number of additional governments are keen to evaluate
cognitive radio technologies, such as white space TV, as they would boost
spectrum capacity while allowing co-habiting users. At the next World
Radio Congress there would be a stand-off between cellular and broadcast
These findings are part of ABI Research’s new Mobile Carrier Strategies
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends
in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North
America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises
thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est.
1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.
Christine Gallen, +44-203-326-0142
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