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A new report from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) forecasts that the amount of mobile data traffic generated by smartphones, feature phones and tablets will exceed 90,000 Petabytes by 2017. That's equivalent to almost 42 quadrillion tweets or approximately 7 billion Blu-ray movies.
However, the report finds that only 40% of the data generated by these devices will reach the cellular network by 2017 The majority of the data traffic will be via the Wi-Fi network. The Juniper Research report finds that, despite 2012 being a breakthrough year for 4G LTE, operators will still need offloading technologies such as Wi-Fi and Small cells to augment 4G networks.
"The trend will continue and operators will make use of more integrated units of Wi-Fi and small cells. In the case of indoor cells, where most usage happens, you effectively have Wi-Fi as the pioneer and are in many ways the leader in this area. Small cells are indeed becoming a part of it," says report author, Nitin Bhas.
The new report also finds that mobile network operators are beginning to build out networks based on public access small cells and that's had a big effect on the offload ecosystem. The demand for high bandwidth services from end users and the availability of Wi-Fi on most mobile devices have enforced the operators to address consumer expectations around quality and experience while creating opportunities for the operators.
The Juniper report identifies a series of trends that are coming together to greatly accelerate carrier-Wi-Fi adoption, mainly NGH (Next Generation Hotspot) and Hotspot 2.0 specifications along with 5GHz enabled devices. Carrier-grade small cells along with Wi-Fi will enable high levels of capacity and along with the macro network will provide commercial and financial success to the operator. Other report findings include:
° Notebooks and eReaders will onload over 20% of their data traffic to the mobile networks in 2013.
° North America and Western Europe will have the highest offload factor throughout the forecast period.