The Mobile Data Apocalypse

My friend @andrewsmit sent me this brilliant article today:



Smartphones produce 40x more data traffic than traditional feature mobile phones.??

A notebook PC generates 450x more traffic than a traditional feature mobile phone.??

Built-in WiFi is now good. For a long time many mobile operators resisted selling smartphones with WiFi built in. They viewed WiFi networks as competitors for customer control, and wanted to prevent usage of them. Now that they see WiFi as their savior, the operators are suddenly encouraging its inclusion in phones.??

Traffic shaping is a fact of life, and a likely source of irritation

Say hello to capped data plans. Completely unlimited wireless data plans are not sustainable long term; the economics of them just don't work. And in fact, virtually no data plans today are completely uncapped; there is almost always some fine print about the maximum amount of traffic allowed before surcharges kick in or the user is tossed off the network. (AT&T actually starts charging extra if you use more than 5 GB per month on their "unlimited" data plan)

Residential 3G is a bad idea. As soon as the networks start to get congested, the operators will need to offload traffic to residential WiFi routers connected to DSL or cable.??

Operators have a huge vested interest in unlocking WiFi access points. Most WiFi access points today are encrypted and inaccessible to other devices in the area. I think there's a strong financial incentive for mobile operators to work with fixed-line access companies to get those access points unlocked.

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