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A Historic Milestone: Mobile Data Traffic Surpasses Voice

According to Ericsson estimates, mobile data surpassed voice on a global basis during December of 2009. This finding is based on Ericsson measurements from live networks covering all regions of the world.

Ericsson's findings show that data traffic globally grew 280% during each of the last two years, and is forecast to double annually over the next five years. The crossover occurred at approximately 140,000 Terabytes per month in both voice and data traffic.  The data traffic increase is contributing to revenue growth for operators when more and more consumers use data traffic generating devices such as Smartphones and PCs. During the same period, Ericsson measurements show that traffic in 3G networks surpassed that of 2G networks.

"This is a significant milestone with some 400 million mobile broadband subscriptions now generating more data traffic than the voice traffic from the total 4.6 billion mobile  subscriptions around the world," said Hans Vestberg, Ericsson President and CEO, speaking at a management briefing in Las Vegas. "Our view that the appeal of anywhere, anytime connectivity would drive mobile broadband growth is confirmed by the real world measurements under taken by Ericsson."

Social networking sites on mobile devices and mobile broadband-based PCs now account for a large percentage of mobile data traffic. For example, over 200 mobile operators in 60 countries are deploying and promoting Facebook mobile products, with over 100 million active users accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

With the new consumer behavior mobile networks will need to be dimensioned for data as well as voice. This is expected to require significant network modernization and transformation to all-IP technologies and new support systems - areas where Ericsson is well positioned to help operators to benefit from these great opportunities.  


Well, this research would make more sense if we have some data on geographical regions. Meaning that in a market like Pakistan, where growth rate for telecom is huge, the data penetration is still not near to voice. The primary reason for this is the needs of the customer and total economical trends of the country. The figures seems quite attractive by Erricson, and I am sure the trend will grow more.

This blog post really summarizes how fast mobile networks are growing to support such rich content such as video and social media interaction. If you are interested, analyst firm Yankee Group, along with representatives from Cisco and Mobixell are conducting a free webinar on the topic of mobile data management on May 27.

I totally agree about facebook/twitter and other social networking sites are the main use of data. Saying that, we receive over 500 emails a day on our business mobile phones. The great thing about email, especially blackberry handsets, don't use much data at all. They crush the email content allowing the user to maximise there customers other data needs!