Gartner: Smartphones, tablets drive mobile data traffic up 23%

As smartphone and tablet sales rise, so is the stress put on mobile networks. Research out today warns mobile network operators on data usage pricing.

An increase of sales of smartphones and tablets are driving up data traffic, and is expected to jump to 23 per cent this year, according to research group Gartner.

Compared to sales results in 2010 where sales reached $257bn, Gartner predicts growth by a quarter to reach $315bn this year, as a result of mobile data connections around the world passing the 5 billion mark.

Pinned on high sales of smartphones and tablets, along with the coupling of work phones and multiple devices running on the mobile networks, data connections could reach the 7.4 billion mark by 2015 -- overtaking the global population.

One of the issues mobile operators face with the high demand for data-hungry smartphones is the need to collect high revenues through surging mobile data usage.

Many mobile networks have dropped unlimited plans for mobile data usage, citing reasons that network congestion impacts the reliability and data availability on other users.

"What carriers need are innovative ways to increase data revenue while finding smart solutions to manage a growing demand in data", said Sylvain Fabre, research director at Gartner.

Ultimately it falls down to supply and demand. The more devices running off the mobile network, the more demand needed by the networks to maintain services and high data capacity. But users do not want to spend more money on services they may not require or even use.

"Mobile data volumes will continue to grow as mobile data networks become faster and more ubiquitous, while at the same time the number of data users and data usage per user is expected to grow", principle research analyst, Jessica Ekholm, said.

Juniper Research warns that as data delivery costs rise, 'onloading' caused by increased use of femtocells and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots contribute to the overall data usage weight on the networks.

Related content: