2.5 Per Cent of Mobile Users Generating 70 Per Cent of Data Traffic

70 per cent of mobile operator data traffic is down to the mobile usage patterns of just 2.5 per cent of all mobile users. This tiny minority of extreme users is characterised by its use of bandwidth-heavy content, such as video. And behind nearly every case of extreme usage is an unlimited data plan and a high-end smartphone consuming an average of 50.4MB of data per day. These extreme users generate nearly three times as much data as heavy users, almost nine times as much as medium users, and nearly 70 times as much as light users.

This is one of the standout findings of Openwave Systems’ Fall/Autumn 2010 report, which highlights key mobile internet usage trends in Europe. The findings are the result of Openwave Analytics collection and analysis of data traffic and usage behaviour from a Tier-1 mobile operator in Western Europe.

The report highlights a number of key trends at play in the market. The first is the insatiable demand for video content, with some users treating the mobile network as a video-on-demand service. Without mediation, says Openwave, the enhanced video capabilities of high-end devices, such as pre-configured access to high definition content) will clog existing mobile networks. The report reveals that just three sites contributed to 10 per cent of all data on the network for the operator. The remaining 90 per cent of the data was generated from the long tail of 771 sites. The extraordinarily high traffic volumes from those few sites fell into three basic categories: video-on-demand, follows by status updates from social networking sites, then mobile search.

The report also found that reports of the death of the feature phone may have been exaggerated. While smartphone users on the European operator’s network visit more categories such as e-commerce and sport sites in comparison to feature phone users, portal content consumption is 17 per cent lower for smartphone users than it is for feature phone users.

“The days of all-you-can-eat data plans are becoming less and less feasible for operators on both sides of the Atlantic, and it is crucial for operators to become better aligned with network availability and usage needs if they are to stay competitive,” says John Giere, senior vice president of products and marketing at Openwave. “Openwave Analytics can help operators to segment based on current and historic data to create predictive models on how device, content and network usage will evolve. This can help operators proactively plan for high traffic periods and optimise network for high bandwidth traffic such as video.”

Openwave recently launched the latest version of its intelligent, content- and context-aware video optimisation solution, Media Optimizer, that automatically triggers optimisation when the network reaches pre-determined thresholds.