Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era

In Q1 2009, the US market exceeded $10B in quarterly mobile data service revenues for the first time.[1] The subscription penetration in the US is well past 90% and the mobile data usage is on the rise. While the rate of new subscriptions has slowed, the pace of innovation is going very strong. It is quite apparent that the mobile industry is going through a significant transition from voice to data, from making calls to getting lost in applications and from voice communications to multimedia communications. Helped by the ever expanding wireless broadband networks, and release of hit devices every quarter, and consumer’s insatiable appetite for information and content has brought us to the surge of a data tsunami that will shake the industry to its core.

As everything moves to digital, information repositories across the web are almost doubling every day moving rapidly to the yottabyte (YB) era. [2] The information and the desire and the capability to consume oodles of data is increasing exponentially. As a result the traffic – both Wireline and wireless is also increasing at a predictably fast rate.

In 2009, the global yearly mobile data traffic will reach a new milestone – 1 Exabyte (EB) or 1 Million Terabytes (TB). By 2016-17, the global yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 1 Zettabyte (ZB) or 1000 Exabytes. By 2014, in the US alone, the total yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 40 EB. How do you go about managing such growth in a profitable manner when the cost of supporting such traffic will increase exponentially despite the move to 4G?[3] Will the move to LTE offer some respite?

This paper discusses the analysis done by Chetan Sharma Consulting on the growth of mobile data traffic in the US market and how the ecosystem can apply some strategies to manage growth and profits. We built detailed models to estimate the rise of mobile data network traffic and discuss some solutions to handle such growth in this paper.