Ten percent of users account for 90 percent of data traffic

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Well, it seems that people like us are just spoiling things for everybody else. A study has found that just ten percent of mobile users account for a whacking 90 percent of data traffic.

In other words, tight data caps and rising charges are necessary for network operators to cope with those few heavy users, and everybody else is paying the price.

The study, from video traffic management firm Bytemobile, indicates that video is the culprit. Last year, it says, video became the dominant form of mobile data traffic for the first time, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total volume in wireless networks worldwide.

The finding accords with a prediction from comms manufacturer Cisco that mobile video will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 131 percent from 2009 to 2014.

"With the rise of full-length and studio-quality videos and live streaming of multimedia content on mobile devices – as well as the emergence of two-way video communications – Bytemobile expects mobile data traffic to spike to an all-time high in 2011," the company says.

Based on an analysis of data trends amongst its own customers, Bytemobile is predicting that video-based content will account for over 60 percent of network traffic this year. Most of this will be 'personal video communications', it says.

Even with the rollout of new generation network techonolgies such as LTE, says Bytemobile, operators will struggle to keep pace with the increase in traffic. Indeed, the new networks could be working more or less to capacity right from the word go.

According to Ericsson, the number of mobile broadband subscribers reached 500 million in 2010 and is set to hit a billion this year.