What 4G means for the data hungry

Global mobile data consumption is projected to increase ten times more than its current usage rate by 2016, according to research conducted by business intelligence firm Informa Telecoms and Media.

As a result, mobile operators are forced to seek out better ways to accommodate the surge in data usage.

The spillover effect from the increase in demand for mobile data, according to Idris T Vasi, is that local businesses and content providers are now turning to creating mobile phone apps.

Debbie Too speaks to the Chief Executive Officer of Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd (DST) about the latest trends in the mobile and telecommunication industry and what consumers should expect.

Idris, you mentioned before that data usage is increasing. Can you please elaborate?

Data usage is not only growing, it's exploding, especially mobile data usage.

Statistical information from the web states that smartphones are the big drivers of mobile data usage. In general, the global internet traffic is growing significantly.

Cisco Systems, a worldwide company specialising in networking, produces a Visual Networking Index (VNI) report where they publish statistics on an annual basis.

What they're saying now is mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold from 2011 to 2016 while the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) shows that annual growth rate for mobile data traffic is 78 per cent.

So when you take desktop and mobile, mobile is exploding and for example, when we talk about Internet penetration in Asia, it is between 26 to 27 per cent. There is still a lot of headroom, but the mobile share of internet traffic in Asia is already 18 per cent.

While the number may seem small to you, since 2010 there has been a 192 per cent growth in the mobile share of Internet traffic.

In Asia's emerging markets, PC penetration is not that prevalent, so mobile is their first screen, in a lot of Asian countries, the way consumers access the Internet is not through a laptop, but its through a mobile.

Data usage is increasing and exploding and mobile data usage is a big part of that explosion.

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