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Mobile Operators to See 50% of Their Data Traffic Transfer to Wi-Fi and Small Cells

A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that almost 50% of data traffic generated by mobile phones, tablets and other 3G/4G connected devices, will be offloaded to Wi-Fi and Small Cell networks this year.

This is equivalent to 10 billion movie downloads or 9,000 petabytes (PB) per year being offloaded from mobile operator’s networks.

The 4G Game Changer

The new report found that while Operators were benefiting from much needed relief on their over-stretched networks, they were potentially losing monetisation opportunities on the lost data usage.

In response, Operators are actively partnering with existing Wi-Fi networks and launching their own carrier grade Wi-Fi solutions. In addition, 4G technologies such as LTE along with other wireless technologies are enabling Operators to provide new services and next generation connected devices such as smart glasses.

Report author Nitin Bhas added: “While a 4G connection need not necessarily mean more data usage, consumers are in fact adapting to faster speeds and more data services, which could lead to more data usage. This increase in user demand for services in turn creates new opportunities within different economic sectors including commerce, energy, health and education, completing a cycle of demand”.

Seamless and Secure Wi-Fi Roaming

The report noted that as Operators implement NGH (Next Generation Hotspot) and Hotspot 2.0 specifications, they will be able to provide users with a seamless authentication and access experience similar to that of the cellular network.

Other Key Findings Include:

  • Mobile data traffic generated by Smartphones, Featurephones and Tablets will exceed 90,000 PB by 2017.
  • North America and Western Europe will have the highest offload factor throughout the forecast period.
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