Sustaining the future growth of mobile data traffic


Last week, Ericsson revealed that mobile data traffic surpassed mobile voice calls on networks worldwide for the first time last December. Here, Rimma Perelmuter gives her views on the explosion of mobile data and the challenges the industry may face in sustaining future growth:

“The fact that mobile data has now overtaken voice calls worldwide shows how the entire mobile media value chain has worked together to offer consumers rich mobile services that they want to use. The kind of services really driving this growth today include applications, social networking and increasingly, rich multimedia content such as video and music.

MEF identified that growing consumer demand for data-heavy services will put greater pressure on networks, with flat rate data tariffs increasingly subjected to stringent download limits as part of MEF’s Top Ten Media Trends for 2010. To meet the continuing increase in consumer demand for data heavy mobile media services, the industry has already started to look at new and alternative business models as part of the MEF Enablers Initiative. Enabling services will be of fundamental importance to the mobile media industry, because they determine the quality of the user experience the industry can offer its consumers. With this in mind, MEF’s Enablers Initiative is creating an industry-wide framework of enabling services, which may include handset capabilities, credit status and location look up, which network operators can offer to third parties to enhance their content.

In addition, the Enablers initiative explores new business models that will need to be put into place in order to sustain and increase mobile data consumption. Once such model currently being trialed in the UK is sender pays data, which enables content providers to provide their content, whether it be video, an application or music, to the consumer without the consumer having to pay a data charge for it. It helps the operators cover the costs of the growing data traffic and to increase revenues in line with network loading. It also increases transparency and fosters consumer trust in mobile services and the brands who promote them.”

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