By Susan Kelly
We previously reported that as Mobile data costs fall consumers will welcome the cost savings but the trend over the next five years may drive mobile data communications carriers into the red.
Today mobile service providers operate in a dynamic market as they face increasing demands for network bandwidth, growing competition from non-traditional service providers, and sophisticated consumer demands for great service and content.
Newly emerging technologies and services will only saturate data mobile networks even more in the future. These include data-intensive applications as high quality video streaming required for medical, video conferencing and other enterprise purposes. These services are needed to expand our digital economy.
Overall data use is increasing rapidly as tablets, smartphones and applications squeeze more data through wireless networks.
This obervation was confirmed in the results of Oracle's recent "Opportunity Calling: The Future of Mobile Communications - Take Two" report. This report was produced from survey results of more than 3,000 mobile phone consumers globally. The aim of the survey was to examine their mobile phone use habits, interest in new mobile technologies and expectations for service providers.
The report found data is clearly in demand, as 69 percent of global mobile phone users report using a smartphone and 47 percent of mobile users have increased their data usage in the past year -- a larger percentage than text or voice. Results also suggest technology is outpacing expectations: In 2010, more than 50 percent of respondents thought their mobile phone would replace their camera, MP3 player or GPS device within five years. By 2011, 43 percent of respondents already replaced their camera, 34 percent their MP3 player and 24 percent their GPS device with their mobile phone.
Additionally, consumer demand for applications is growing as well as 55 percent of respondents report having downloaded a free app and 25 percent have paid for an app on their mobile device.
The app download numbers shed some light on this growth according to IDC - over the last three years, more than 300,000 different mobile applications have been downloaded some 10.9 billion times.
In a separate trend the demand for apps is seen spreading from phones to other mobile devices, particularly tablets. 57% of respondents already own a tablet device or plan to purchase one in the next 12 months.
Many mobile consumers have security concerns. 68% of respondents do not believe, or are unsure, whether information stored or transmitted from their mobile device is secure. Despite these security concerns, the report also suggested consumers are adopting mobile purchasing habits, and more consumers are continuing to leverage their mobile devices for retail activities.
Interestingly, the report points out different usage patterns by age group.
While all mobile phone customers use their mobile phones as a communications device, younger customers also use their mobile phone as an entertainment device.
The report found 30 percent of mobile phone users comparison shop on their mobile device, while 24 percent read customer reviews.
Customers are also more willing to share their location with mobile apps than they were one year ago, and a greater number are using their phones to access online banking or make online purchase.
What will the carriers do with all that data?
The real cost of delivering a gigabyte of data will surpass the cost carriers receive for the same gigabyte. This is projected to occur some time in early 2013, according to the telecommunications gear vendor Tellabs.
The reason why is pretty clear. All mobile services rely on the infrastructure of wireless networks. These assets, in turn, rely on both man-made capital - items such as radios, base stations, high-capacity bit transport grids -- and natural resources, namely the frequency spaces through which their signals hop.
These infrastructure costs are variable based on usage of the network. As demand increases the cost to operate increases at a faster rate because of scaling data transmission costs tied to newer technologies to carry more data in the same frequencies. This gets capital intensive for the carriers and more expensive to deploy and maintain their networks.
Published by myITview.com
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