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Changing service mixes will drive 3G traffic

Photograph of Mark HeathBefore the introduction of mobile broadband services and the rapid update of 3G smartphones, non-voice services were dominated by services that do not consume much network resource, as shown in the table below, such as text messaging, games downloads and small-screen (WAP) browsing.

With an increasing penetration of USB modems and datacards, and smartphones, the mobile service mix will continue to change considerably. Over time, the mobile service mix will have a greater proportion of usage-intensive services, such as full-screen Web browsing and video streaming.

As shown in the table, a small number of services (including mobile broadband access and mobile TV) have a disproportionate impact on wireless traffic volumes. For example, video streaming consumes about 26 times the network capacity of voice telephony. Similarly, a mobile broadband customer using 1GB per month consumes the equivalent network capacity of over 7000 minutes of voice telephony.

Table showing the data consumed by different mobile services

Data consumption for a range of mobile services

Dr Mark Heath co-founded Unwired Insight in 2001, to provide analysis and market intelligence for the mobile telecommunications industry. Previously he contributed to the standardisation of GSM, UMTS and DECT and held senior roles for a mobile network operator and equipment manufacturer. Mark has written over 40 industry reports and has advised investors, network operators, equipment vendors, lawyers and government bodies.

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