Uncommon Wisdom

Jul 23 2009   12:38PM GMT

Mobile broadband growth has upside and problems

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Mobile broadband traffic, primarily to smartphones, is growing primarily due to increased use of video content. Research shows a 30% increase worldwide, and this is both a driver for LTE and a source of concern for mobile operators.

At present, mobile data plans aren’t uniformly all-you-can-eat, so most operators have some revenue upside to traffic growth in mobile services, but it’s clear that mobile content will threaten the older 3G network paradigms and force 4G migration at the current pace of growth. Operators may thus have to accelerate LTE, a trend that is already becoming visible, and the current plans may be inadequate if smartphone wars among providers stimulate further content viewing and traffic growth. The trend may also keep mobile tied to usage pricing as a defensive move.

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