Two studies point to explosive mobile broadband growth

Informa Telecoms & Media's newest World Cellular Data Metrics report indicates mobile broadband subscribers worldwide almost reached a quarter of a billion at the end of March with more than 225 million subscribers. The figure represented 93% year-on-year growth.

The firm said the popularity of mobile broadband is at its highest in the Asia-Pacific region, which supports more than 90 million subscribers. Latin American subscribers are growing fast. The region represents 385% year-on-year growth and supports more than 10 million subscribers as 3G operators offer emerging market subscribers a primary Internet connection.

Smartphones are contributing to a surge in mobile data traffic, Informa said. The spread of the iPhone continues to boost data usage for those operators that distribute the model with O2 reporting that 40% of its data traffic in UK comes from the smartphone market.

Meanwhile, Allot Communications released this week what is called its inaugural Global Mobile Broadband Traffic Report (GMBT), which indicates that worldwide mobile data bandwidth usage has increased by about 30% during the second quarter of 2009. Again, Asia leads the growth with 36%, while Europe posted 28% growth and the Americas recorded 25%. The report tracked global IP application usage and growth, collected data from leading mobile operators worldwide with a combined user base of more than 150 million subscribers.

Allot said the report shows how subscribers, particularly heavy data users, do not distinguish between their fixed and their mobile networks, and seem to expect the same service from the Internet, irrespective of their access method.   

According to the Allot GMBT:

HTTP browsing is the most popular application globally and usage increased by 21%.

HTTP streaming is the fastest growing application with a usage increase of 58%. This includes streaming sites such as YouTube and Hulu.

HTTP downloads, which experienced 34% growth globally, are now almost as popular as P2P, and in EMEA have even overtaken P2P in popularity.

P2P accounts for 42% of bandwidth utilization in the busiest cells on the network, but only 21% in the average cell.

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