Smartphone signaling takes a back seat to data traffic in Wall Street Journal

Last week Lynette Luna kicked around the idea that some are considering signaling traffic, not video, to be the real data hog over the 3G network.  Signaling traffic being primarily a result of repeated emailing, IMing, social networking, etc.

We quoted AT&T executive, Peter Svensson’s view that video was, in fact, the main culprit in cellular congestion:

“that the most high-bandwidth activity is video and audio streaming” and refers to “Wireless data hogs who jam the airwaves by watching video on their iPhones

It would seem as though smartmoney.com and Cisco agree with Svensson on this one.  Almost right after I posted a review of Luna’s article, the Wall Street Journal’s smartmoney.com posted some pretty interesting statistics on data traffic and the future of video as a data hog and data consumption in general.  Really, nothing we have not heard before, but I love when two contrasting statistical articles come out so close together:

Existing telecom networks are already strained. Wireless data traffic grew 160 percent in 2009, to 90 petabytes a month—enough data to fill 23 million DVDs, according to Cisco Systems. Mobile video is growing so fast that it’s expected to account for two-thirds of wireless data traffic by 2014 (with YouTube alone already taking up 10 percent). And Cisco predicts that by 2014 there will be more than 5 billion personal devices connecting to mobile networks—at least one for every adult on the planet.

The industry is quickly approaching the point where consumer demand for mobile broadband data will surpass the telecommunication companies’ abilities to handle the traffic. Something needs to happen soon…

AT&T executive, Ralph de la Vega, expressed his concern about the future of wireless data consumption.  “We’re at a critical point in the industry”, he said on March 23 in Vegas.  He spoke of the need for Wi-Fi networks to be used for offloading data consumption.  At least AT&T is admitting they simply do not have the capacity to handle what is coming down the pike.

I think the main thing here will be educating the consumer about their options. When there is a Wi-Fi AP, for example: use it. I think a lot of consumers are still unaware of their options.  It is important for consumers to understand that Wi-Fi is not just for internet – Wi-Fi networks, such as Spot On Networks Cell-Fi™, have the compacity to handle voice calls as well.  Cellular networks, at this point, are really only necessary as a back-up network, when a user is unable to connect to a Wi-Fi network.  This is where consumers have the opportunity to not only receive better overall voice and data service, but they can save a ton of money in two major ways: 1) no cellular minutes are used when calling over Wi-Fi 2) no data consumption is taking place over the cellular network when using Wi-Fi.   Both these things allow for consumers to purchase very minimal plans, or non at all, and still user their device.

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