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Cellphones Communications Wireless Networking Technology

US Mobile Data Traffic Usage Exceeds Voice 71

MojoKid writes "A report just released states that total mobile data traffic topped mobile voice traffic in the United States last year, for the first time. In fact, globally, data traffic topped voice traffic on a monthly basis last year, and the total traffic across the world exceeded an exabyte for the first time in 2009. Apparently, North America and Western Europe's mobile data markets are growing so rapidly they each should exceed an exabyte sometime in 2010. Interestingly, the nations with the largest data service revenues were: the US, Japan, China, the UK, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Spain and Korea, respectively."
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US Mobile Data Traffic Usage Exceeds Voice

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  • by spud603 ( 832173 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:41AM (#31716104)

    In terms of data size, a 10-minute voice-only phone conversation is absolutely miniscule compared to even a single page load of even a mobile-friendly web site

    That can't be true. Loading (by no means a lean page) pulls in about 800kb of data. Voice-specific codecs tend to get about 15kbps, so a 10-minute one-sided conversation weighs in at about 9Mb.

  • VoIP? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:44AM (#31716122) Homepage Journal
    How much if that data traffic is actually VoIP? I have a SIP client on my iPhone 3GS that gets more use than my cell many days.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:46AM (#31716138)

    That is what I was hoping to see in this article. Makes no mention of how they define voice, since depending on the codec you could be 2.5 kb/s (LPC10, but you sound very robotic so very unlikely), GSM (13 kb/s), (u|a)law (64 kb/s). (And this is limiting. If you were using a wideband codec, that could be even higher)

    But lets see, 10 minutes of voice (remember, these are one way bandwidths)
    GSM (13 kb/s) * 600 seconds (10 minutes) = 7800 kb = 975 kB.
    (u|a)law (64 kb/s) * 600 seconds = 38400 kb = 4800 kB. (Unlikely to see on the cell phones)
    Remember that is just one way.

    GSM: 2 MB of data for a 10 minute conversation(up & down)?
    Not sure about the mobile web pages, but some of the normal web pages seem like they might break that by the time they get all their graphics and stuff loaded.

  • by RalphBNumbers ( 655475 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:15PM (#31716336)

    Ok, first off, loading Yahoo takes about 900 kilobytes (kB), not kilobits (kb).
    Your 10minute conversation at 15kbps works out to 9 Mb, which is only 1.125MB.

    And in reality cell phone codecs only take even close to 15kbps when they're running at full quality (and cell carriers being what they are, it's my understanding that they almost always skimp on that quality by at least half).

    Wikipedia says AMR (the codec used in GSM and UMTS) varies between 12.2kbps and 1.8kbps.
    Even the full 12.2kbps works out to 915KB for a 10minute conversation, the 1.8kbps rate only uses 135KB.

    Of course, I think those are single channel rates, and you'll normally send as well as receive and thus double the data transmitted.

    Overall I wouldn't call the voice call's relative data size minuscule, but it could easily wind up being less than a large-ish page load requires.

    But in this case, it might be more appropriate to compare bandwidth needs. And in that measure the voice call really could be minuscule in comparison, since it's load is spread out over minutes instead of seconds.

  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:42PM (#31716514)

    Our mobile data demands last year were 1 Exabyte - Which is roughly the equivalent of 1/5 the words ever spoken by humans.

    No wonder everyone feels crazy. Nothing in evolution prepared us for this much information about anything/everything/everybody all the time. I mean, it's great, it's fantastic, we now essentially carry a device that not only can communicate on several different levels with nearly anyone on the planet anywhere anytime, but it's also a repository of most human knowledge and on their way of becoming capable of nearly everything (Voice, then text, then cameras, mp3, web, navigation, apps then?). True, the data and communication links aren't in your pocket, and it's far from complete. But that's a lot of information. And it's all nearly instantaneous. Now we get frustrated not only if we can't get the information, but if we just can't get it fast enough. 5 seconds of "connecting..." is enough to get us mad sometimes. Never mind that 15-20 years ago it would have involved a trip to a library or several libraries, phone calls, or maybe taking a trip and talking to locals, and take days, hours, or months to find the info we're looking for, half a minute waiting can get us angry, we need to hear what kind of music they play at specific coffeehouses in Prague right now, dammit, we're trying to plan a trip here.

    ADD isn't a disorder in this context, it's a result. It gets hard to concentrate for a while nearly everything can be looked up in seconds, nearly every desire that starts "I want to see...", "I want to hear...", "I want to tell..." or "I want to know..." can be instantly fulfilled. If it's not instantly gratified, it's quickly forgotten, and another desire takes it's place, even if it's just been seconds.

    All opinion, and I'm not arguing that ADD isn't a disease, just that our technological environment has a lot to do with it.

  • 4G (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sonicmerlin ( 1505111 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:43PM (#31716520)
    The interesting thing about LTE is that its entirely packet-switched. Voice will essentially be VOIP over the packet-switched network. Although operators will continue running their legacy circuit-switched networks for several more years (if only because they've already sunk billions into it), once voice transitions entirely over to digital transmission Verizon and co. will have to come up with another pricing scheme to extract higher ARPU from their customers.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.