New research has found that the majority of traffic (63 percent) generated by Smartphones, Tablets and Feature Phones will transfer onto the fixed network via Wi-Fi and Femtocells by 2015. This means that the annual mobile data traffic offloaded from operators’ networks via WiFi and Femtocells is forecast to reach nearly 9000 petabytes (PB) by 2015, which equates to a voluminous 11 billion movie downloads.
Juniper Research found that the percentage of traffic offloaded in developed markets will actually diminish towards the end of the forecast period, and will begin to plateau in several other regions due to the accelerating take-up of LTE. Despite this, however, the volume of data traffic offloaded from mobile networks will continue to grow strongly throughout the next five years as the total volume of data traffic delivered to mobile devices accelerates.
According to Mobile Data Offload and Onload report author Nitin Bhas, “As a high percentage of mobile data consumption occurs while indoors or in motion, operators have an opportunity to offload data traffic onto complementary fixed networks via WiFi and Femtocells. Offloading also has the potential for creating new services and applications and enhancing the usage of existing services.”
WiFi vs. Femtocell
Although currently WiFi accounts for over 98 percent of the traffic offloaded, Femtocells will account for a steadily increasing proportion over the forecast period. The highest penetration of femtocells for Data Offload will occur in North America.
Opportunities for Operators
The report recommends that operators view offloading solutions as being complementary to their 3G/4G network investments providing opportunities to seize market share and revenues from fixed line operators, extending their reach beyond mobile and making their 3G/4G business case profitable.