Challenges facing wireless operators are exemplified in two different industry reports released this week, which separately reveal skyrocketing growth in mobile broadband traffic and a breakneck pace of network investment.
Global mobile broadband traffic grew by 83 percent in the second half of 2011 with a CAGR of 234 percent during 2011, according to the latest global mobile broadband traffic report from mobile service optimization company Allot Communications.
Video streaming traffic continued its phenomenal rise, with 88 percent growth in 2H11, and is now gobbling up a 42 percent share of all global bandwidth. YouTube accounts for 24 percent of global broadband traffic, and 14 percent of total YouTube traffic is now high-definition.
Other services are also consuming increasing amounts of global mobile bandwidth. VoIP and IM traffic grew by 114 percent in 2H11, which Allot noted is "consistent with recent reports marking the decline of SMS and international voice calls."
Mobile operators have made no secret of the fact that the challenges of meeting escalating demand for broadband data services is driving them to make heavy network investments and migrate to next-generation technologies such as LTE. Industry vendors are reaping the rewards of these substantial network investments.
Dell'Oro Group announced that in 2011 the mobile radio access network (RAN) market recorded its strongest full-year revenue growth since 2004, with mobile RAN revenues growing 15 percentage points during 2011. Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Huawei recorded the largest full-year 2011 revenue increases and maintained their No. 1 and No. 2 revenue share rankings, respectively, in the mobile RAN market.
LTE RAN investments accounted for 40 percent of global mobile RAN growth in 2011. However, the strong momentum that drove the mobile infrastructure RAN market in 2011's first nine months slowed at year's end, paving the way for slower growth in 2012, the consultancy said.
"While operators in North America maintained capex guidance for 2011 and front-end loaded investments were expected, it was the shift in product mix from capacity to LTE coverage that resulted in weaker than anticipated wireless infrastructure investments," commented Stefan Pongratz, mobile infrastructure analyst at Dell'Oro.
- see this Dell'Oro release
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