Skip to main content

Report: Cell data doubled in 2012, hints at future where people will have multiple phones

cellIt may seem as if everyone in the world has a cellphone these days, but that’s nowhere near true just yet. A recent report states cell traffic has doubled in the past year, and it’s a trend that’s set to continue for quite some time.

Ericsson released new research on Monday that showed that global data traffic on mobile networks – which does not include Wi-Fi Internet signals – hit around 1,300 petabytes per month by the end of last year. The rise is an almost 100 percent growth on the size of traffic for the same time period in 2011, as well as a 28 percent jump from the previous quarter. This increase is, the company claims, in part down to existing subscribers using more data on a regular basis, and also the growing number of subscribers.

“In Q4 [2012], mobile broadband subscriptions grew ~125 million to 1.5 billion, reflecting a 50 percent year-on-year increase,” the report states, going on to suggest that we can expect even more of the same in the future. “There is continued strong momentum for smartphone uptake in all regions,” the report explains. “Approximately 40 percent of all mobile phones sold during 2012 were smartphones, compared to around 30 percent for the full year 2011. Only around 15 to 20 percent of the worldwide installed base of mobile phone subscriptions uses smartphones, which means that there is considerable room for further uptake.”

While global smartphone penetration may only rest at 15 to 20 percent, overall global cell penetration is far higher – around 89 percent, Ericsson reports. Of that 89 percent, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America lead the way with a staggering higher than 100 percent penetration rate. This means each person has, on average, at least one subscription. Central and Eastern Europe has 133 percent mobile phone penetration, followed by Western Europe (128 percent), Latin America (112 percent), and North America trailing with “just” 103 percent penetration. The Asia-Pacific region – excluding China and India – are close behind, with 99 percent cell penetration, and China itself following with 82 percent.

Overall, Ericsson’s report points to a future where cell usage is so dominant that people have more than one phone, and smartphone usage is really just beginning – which doubtlessly pleases cell companies. It is already pretty common for people own separate work and personal cellphones.

However, it is possible that Ericsson is being far too optimistic in its take on the market as is, as Cisco’s most recent report on the subject is considerably more downbeat, suggesting that global data traffic only peaked at 885 petabytes at the end of 2012, not 1,300, and that that number is only 70 percent higher than the same period the year earlier (Cisco’s estimate for Q4 2011 was 520 petabytes, lower than Ericsson’s 600+ for the same period). A report on GigaOm also suggested that cell data growth slowed at the end of last year, so use these numbers as an indicator of general trends.

Topics
Graeme McMillan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A transplant from the west coast of Scotland to the west coast of America, Graeme is a freelance writer with a taste for pop…
This Arlo 3-camera security system bundle is $300 off today
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera

For anyone seeking great security camera deals, check out Best Buy right now. Today, you can buy the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security bundle with 3 wire-free cameras for use indoors or outdoors, all for just $300. It's a considerable saving of $300 aka 50% off. Easy to install and set up while soon making your home more secure than ever, we strongly recommend immediately making a purchase. If you need some more guidance though, keep reading while we take you through what the bundle offers.

Why you should buy the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security bundle
The Arlo Pro 4 tops our look at the best home security cameras so what could be better than owning three of them? With the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security bundle, you get three Arlo Pro 4 cameras, four rechargeable batteries, a dual battery charging station, three anti-theft mounts, and a security yard sign. The cameras each offer two times the video resolution of HD allowing you to zoom in up to 12 times while still clearly seeing what's going on.

Read more
The best smart light bulbs
best sunrise alarm clocks philips wake up light

Smart bulbs offer a simple and affordable way to upgrade your home. These products are just as easy to install as traditional bulbs, but come with heaps of functionality – including the ability to program schedules, change their color, or alter their brightness at the press of a button.

Finding the right smart light bulb can be a challenge, however, as there's an abundance of products to choose from and many of them share similar specs. Ideally, you'll want a smart bulb that integrates with the rest of your smart home and comes with a smartphone app that's easy to use.

Read more
Best cordless vacuum deals: Big discounts on Dyson, Shark, and more
Woman vacuuming floor with Dyson V11 Outsize Total Clean Cordless Vacuum.

More families are investing in cordless vacuums because they're very helpful devices in cleaning your home. With these machines, you can move from room to room easily as there's no power cable to worry about, and since they're more mobile, you'll be able to pick up dirt and debris from every nook and cranny. Dyson's products always get most of the attention in cordless vacuum deals, but we've also rounded up offers for devices made by Shark and other reputable brands to give you cheaper alternatives. In any case, you'll need to hurry with your purchase because we're not sure how much time remains on these bargains.
Best Dyson cordless vacuum deals

Dyson is the first brand that most people will think of when you mention cordless vacuums, as that has been one of its signature devices. Dyson cordless vacuums offer powerful suction, attachments for various purposes such as reaching narrow spaces and brushing off dust, and long battery life depending on the chosen mode. Dyson cordless vacuum deals almost never last long though, so grab these offers while you still can.

Read more