Squeezing among all the CES news, UK mobile telco Three reports a huge jump in smartphone data over the past year. On New Year’s Eve, smartphone traffic was up nearly 600% in the UK compared with the same evening a year before. On 31st December 2010, 14 TB of data was transmitted. For the same date in 2011, it was 80 TB.
A similar pattern emerged on New Year’s day, with 74 TB in 2012, compared with 14 TB in 2011. Facebook seems to have become the place for New Year’s wishes with a 20% rise in traffic between midnight and 1am.
I sometimes think people should look up from their phones a bit more often. Now I know I’m right!
If you ever needed evidence that mobile telcos (MNOs) are moving their business focus from telephones to data, then look no further than a recent post on Three’s blog. Phil Sheppard, the company’s Director of Network Strategy, revealed that 97% of the traffic flowing through Three‘s network was data. Only 3% was voice.
Also staggering was the growth in smartphone data use which grew 427% in 14 months. Yes, over 400% in slightly more than a year. It’s clear that in the last year, lots of people have upgraded to smartphones and are now actively using them online. There’s probably a combination of reasons for the explosion but the wider choice of handset models at a range of price points will be the main reason.
Three has always paid attention to data, being the first mobile company to offer 3G in the UK back in 2003, but with figures like this, it would be a fair assumption that every mobile telco is now shifting more data than voice traffic and that means these companies are more like mobile ISPs (Internet Service Providers) than phone companies. Whenever you hear an announcement by one of these companies, think about it in these terms.