MUMBAI, INDIA: Global mobile data traffic is set to reach 52 million terabytes (TB) in 2015, an increase of 59pc from 2014, according to Gartner, Inc.
The rapid growth is set to continue through 2018, when mobile data levels are estimated to reach 173 million TB. Gartner analysts advise communication service providers (CSPs) to rethink their data caps to meet consumer needs and win market share.
"Mobile data traffic is soaring worldwide, more than tripling by 2018," said Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner.
"New, fast mobile data connections (3G and 4G) will grow more slowly, from 3.8 billion in 2015 to 5.1 billion in 2018, as users switch from slower 2G connections and consume more mobile data."
In the third quarter of 2014, Gartner conducted a mobile app survey and asked 1,000 smartphone users in the U.S. and 1,000 in Germany about their mobile app usage habits.
The survey showed that German users are more restricted by their data plans, and are therefore less likely to watch videos or consume large amounts of data via cellular networks compared to the U.S. This means less revenue per user for CSPs in Germany.
When asked if they would wait until they get to a Wi-Fi area to download an app or stream content from a video app, 54 percent of Germans agreed and only 36 percent of U.S. respondents said yes.
The survey showed that families with children are driving mobile video usage. Users with children were the least concerned about using cellular data to stream video — surprisingly with almost no correlation to income. This is being encouraged by CSPs enabling plans with data sharing available between devices.
In the U.S., 47 pc of the 45 to 54 year olds surveyed stream 15 minutes or more of mobile video apps over cellular networks per session, whereas only 40 percent of 18 to 24 year olds stream more than 15 minutes.