Tablets: bring on the network offload

Kate Gerwig
09 Mar 2011
Even though tablet adoption is in the early stages, this potentially disruptive 3G/4G device is already generating mobile broadband traffic projections.
CIMI Corp.’s modeling shows that 21% of smartphone traffic is offloaded to hotspots while more than 40% of tablet traffic is offloaded.
The message? “The more sophisticated the appliance, the more the operator has to think about the offload strategy,” said Tom Nolle, president of network consultancy CIMI Corp.
Looking at the same issue through a slightly different lens, Femto Forum Chairman Simon Saunders said Forum studies show that at least of 80% of smartphone and other device traffic is generated from indoors. “That’s the underlying reason it works well for operators to focus on offloading that sort of traffic -- because it’s contained and personal,” he said.
Beyond location, Saunders said tablets lend themselves to higher-definition multimedia type traffic because of their larger screen size, which makes them very consumption-based. “Traffic is heavily asymmetric to the user rather than from the user,” he said.
To that point, a 2010 Femto Forum study on the cost of delivering mobile broadband traffic revealed that it could cost $9 to deliver a gigabyte of data traffic, which is over and above an operator’s cost to roll out its radio access and backhaul networks. If the traffic goes over a home or office femtocell instead, the cost of delivering it is reduced by more than 75%.


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