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Thanks to our obsession with our iPhones (s aapl), Android devices (s goog) and iPads, the demand for mobile data is exploding. Data from Ericsson, (s eric) which makes a majority of its money by selling hardware to mobile phone companies, shows that from the second quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2011, mobile data traffic more than doubled.
Here are the relevant bits from the Ericsson report:
In more detail, the mobile data growth patterns reveal that the quality of a smartphone affects which applications people use and the length of time they surf the mobile internet. As defined by Ericsson, an active smartphone user generates more than 1 MB traffic per day.
Factors including screen size, age and price of the smartphone have a stronger correlation with median traffic than OS (iPhone-iOS, Android, Symbian, (s nok) etc). It is notable that in North America, high-end smartphones generate twice the traffic than comparable smartphones at the operators analyzed in Asia and Europe.
Ericsson has found that among heavy users, the cumulative data generated by video is significantly higher than for other activities. The top 5 to 10 percent of smartphone users are willing to spend up to 40 minutes a day watching online video. However, the average user spends about 30 seconds a day watching online video.
All this shouldn’t come as a surprise to our readers, but much of the growth has come as we have started to consume more and more video on the go. This move is forcing carriers big and small to look for creative solutions to manage the traffic. From new video compression methodologies as shown off by Skyfire to imposing per-megabyte pricing, carriers are doing everything to manage the traffic and maintain profitability on their networks. According to various estimates, the delivery of mobile data costs are going to jump to $370 billion by 2016.