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Data Consumes 98% of Mobile Network Traffic

May 21, 2014
New research released by Amdocs reports that dropped calls and a 50% decrease in data throughput can be attributed to an increase in data usage.

Skyrocketing data use within mobile networking comes as no surprise. What is a surprise is the share of network traffic from data has grown to 98%—an increase from 90% in the previous year, according to research done by Amdocs, a software and services provider for the communications and media industries.

What’s driving this growth? Simply, increased use of smartphones and tablets consuming and sharing data, leading to a rise in the number of dropped calls (and customer issues)—dropped voice calls and data ballooned 121% this year, and the highest traffic areas show a 17% dropped call rate. Research shows that the mobile handset often is the root cause of these dropped calls and data interruption.

The biggest change to voice calls was indoor usage; while voice calls did increase by 16%, usage in-building grew by 33%. That said, indoor data usage also experienced a 50% drop in successful data usage.

Furthermore, while LTE (4G) improves customer experience, it doesn’t increase data traffic exponentially. However, establishing an LTE data session takes half the time of 3G. High-bandwidth video data consumption did not increase—its usage patterns remain similar to 3G networks.

In terms of user issues, data traffic appears to be the primary antagonist. When surveyed, their frustration stemmed from lack of data coverage (47%), monthly limits (30%), and download costs (16%).

Amdocs’ research data is based on the State of Radio Access Network (RAN) Survey, which surveyed over 100,000 mobile devices in the more trafficked network locations around the world over the past year. Through this, they analyzed over four-million voice and data connections.

Based on its research, Amdocs targeted immediate needs for mobile networking. Overall, there must be an optimal network build and organization, along with increased satisfaction and new revenue opportunities. Also, service providers must apply planning and optimization solutions to manage a subscriber network that wants to consume, produce, and share data. The company also notes that the introduction of LTE has improved the customer experience and does not drive usage patterns. 

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