According to Network Gear Manufacturer Cisco, global mobile data traffic may continue to grow at a CAGR of 61% over the next 5 years (67% for Asia Pacific region). This is despite considering that an increasing number of operators are moving away from unlimited data plans to tiered data packages.
Demand for Mobile Data will come from Rising adoption of internet-capable devices – The majority of subscribers in emerging markets still remain on feature phones with very low data usage. According to Cisco’s estimates, a non-smartphone user on average consumed just 10.8MB of data per month in 2013 compared to 529MB per month data consumption by a 3G smartphone user. With Asian smartphone take-up forecasted to rise from 17% in FY13 to 47% of handsets by FY18 (driven by affordable handsets which is especially relevant in emerging markets), we expect data traffic growth to rise significantly, thereby creating network demand.
Rise in Data Consumption by Consumers Average MB consumed per user has been increasing over the years owing to faster network speeds, rising over the top application use and improved device usability. As network speeds rise, (migration to LTE or LTE-A), average usage levels by consumers should rise accordingly given the ability to download / upload more traffic within the same time period.
M2M to Contribute to Data Usage too Discussions on data connectivity and usage had been centered on human usage and penetration, M2M presents incremental opportunity for telcos given network linkages. An M2M solution comprises a system of sensors which record and transmit data, typically over a wireless network, between the machine in question and other devices which respond accordingly. M2M include applications such as gas and electricity smart metering, video-based security systems, healthcare, Traffic Monitors, automotive (real-time vehicle diagnostics, fleet tracking and navigation) etc. M2M applications are largely dependent on wireless networks given remote sensing/monitoring & data transmission, we see it may emerge as a key segment of growth for mobile operator diversifying away from the consumer centric wireless data stream.
Hopefully Indian Operators will stop fighting the Regulator & the Government and start enhancing their network capacities to offer unmatched Data Experience.