98% of mobile traffic now data

Staff writer
25 Apr 2014

With an almost complete shift from voice to data, service providers urgently to build and optimize mobile networks to assure network performance and quality, according to Amdocs Research.

Amdocs’ latest annual State of the Radio Access Network (RAN) report covers more than 4 million voice and data connections from more than 100,000 mobile devices at some of the busiest network locations around the world in the past twelve months.

The radio access network provides wireless mobile connection for phones and tablets, using a combination of technologies, including small cells and macro cells, utilizing 3G, 4G (LTE) and Wi-Fi (for data).

The report finds that the share of network traffic from data has grown to 98% from 90% in the previous 12-month period. The growth demonstrates subscribers' overwhelming use of smartphones and tablets to consume and share content.

Also, data demand leads to an increase in dropped calls. The stress placed on networks has led to an increase in customer experience issues as network demand grows, with dropped data and voice calls increasing by 121%. The most stressed locations showed a 17% dropped call rate. While these figures give a stark reminder of the ever-increasing load carried by the RAN, the level to which individual customers were impacted often depended on their choice of mobile handset.

Further, LTE (4G) improves customer experience but does not increase data traffic exponentially. The time to establish an LTE data session is less than half that of 3G, delivering a data experience that is much closer to home broadband. Although LTE drives some increase in data consumption, high bandwidth data consumption (like video) did not increase, indicating that usage patterns, potentially governed by data plans, remain little different from 3G networks.

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