Mobile usage habits continue to change

26 March 2010

KISTA, Sweden: The amount of data traffic delivered on mobile phones worldwide has passed the figure recorded by "voice" calls for the first time, as more consumers access services like Facebook via their handsets.

Ericsson, the telecoms firm, reported that the "crossover" between phone calls and information delivery took place in December 2009, when each of these platforms produced around 140,000 terabytes of activity.

The amount of music, video and other such content transferred in this way has grown by 280% annually in the last two years, and is set to double on an annual basis over the period to 2015, it added.

"This is a significant milestone with some 400 million mobile broadband subscriptions now generating more data traffic than the voice traffic from the total 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions around the world," Hans Vestberg, president/ceo of Ericsson, said.

"Our view that the appeal of anywhere, anytime connectivity would drive mobile broadband growth is confirmed by the real world measurements."

The wider availability of 3G platforms, smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, and the shift in consumer preferences towards digital media, all contributed to this process.

Similarly, the explosion in the number of people accessing social networks either on their phone or through mobile broadband accounted for a "large percentage of mobile data traffic".

Facebook recently revealed that around 100 million users, a quarter of its global membership, regularly log on to its portal in such a fashion.

According to Ericsson, more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries are currently "deploying and promoting Facebook mobile products".

Further analysis undertaken by the company, based on a survey of 4,580 adults in major markets around the world, found that 80% of mobile broadband users expect "anytime, anywhere access".

It also discovered that many participants had formed "personal" attachments to their handsets, with 65% saying they would not be willing to share their mobile broadband connection.

According to eMarketer, the research specialist, mobile adspend stood at just $416 million (€312m; £279) in the US last year, but revenue levels should climb to $1.1 billion by 2012.

Google announced earlier this week that localised terms accounted for a third of all entries made on its mobile search engine at present.

It predicted that location-based spending through this channel could reach $4bn by 2015, compared with just $34m in 2009.

"We think of location as a hugely important signal," Paul Feng, mobile advertising group product manager at the search firm, said.

Data sourced from Ericsson/Mobile Marketing Watch; additional content by Warc staff