Thirst for bandwidth
According to market researchers at Strategy Analytics, the worldwide number of smartphones in use crossed the billion mark in 2012. It took 16 years to reach that milestone after the introduction of the first smartphone, the Nokia Communicator. But the projections estimate that the next billion will take less than three years.
Unlike the old “feature” phones, smartphones are no longer used for just calling or texting. Today’s user is more focused on mobile apps, multimedia downloads, and social networking with friends. And mobile devices are not limited to smartphones, either. The numbers of tablets, USB dongles, 3G routers, and M2M modules are also rising rapidly. There are seven billion subscriptions in the world – almost as many as there are people – and the number is set to overtake the world population in 2013.
It follows that all those devices require more data than ever before. The impact of always-on mobile connectedness on the networks is immediately apparent. However, the extent of this only becomes clear when we take a closer look. According to estimates by Gartner, mobile data transfer almost doubled from 2011 to 2012 and will continue to do so for the next five years. In 2016, Cisco expects the amount of mobile data to reach 130 exabytes – equivalent to 33 billion DVDs.
A boom in LTE-capable devices
In addition, an increasing number of data-hungry devices that support LTE, often called the “Turbo Internet”, will reach the market in years to come. According to GSA, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, there were already more than 400 LTE-capable models on the market in 2012, including numerous LTE smartphones, tablets, USB dongles, and routers.
For mobile network operators (MNOs), this means that networks have to transfer over one hundred times more data today than five years ago – and this is not by any means the end of the line. The answer to this development is the installation of LTE networks. With a fourth-generation mobile network, MNOs can create the information superhighway they need. At the same time, they also have to ensure that all mobile devices in their own network can be managed efficiently.
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