US Wireless Data Traffic Going Ludicrous


It’s not like we didn’t see it coming, wireless data is the current wave of the future. And the US is on track to surpass the exabyte mark. *Side note* Google Chrome does not recognize “exabyte” as word, in fact it only goes to “gigabyte”. So what is an exabyte? An exabyte is a 1 with 18 zeros on the end; for comparisons sake, a gigabyte is a 1 with nine zeros tagged on the end. If you went to the wiki page I linked, it has an interesting comparison for exabyte:

…all words ever spoken by human beings could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data…

It also notes that “one exabyte is equivalent to 50,000 years of DVD quality video”. Yep, in one year the US alone is on track to move that much data through their wireless carriers. Snap.

Here’s a pretty picture painted in Excel for you to look at:

Here are some wireless stats that I pilfered from GigaOM:

* In Q3 2010, 47% of the devices sold in the US were smartphones compared to 24% globally.
* The US Wireless data service revenues grew 7% Q/Q to $14B in Q310.
* Verizon and AT&T accounted for 85% of the increase in data revenues in Q3 2010.
* Per month data (blended) ARPU – Sprint $18.7 (estimated), Verizon $18.61, AT&T $17.35, T-Mobile – $12 (estimated), average $16.7
* Nearly 21 percent of T-Mobile USA subscribers are on the smartphone.
* Data now accounts for about 33 percent of total ARPU for carriers in the US. Sharma predicts that in 2013, one should expect data and voice revenues to be roughly equal for the US carriers.

[via GigaOM]

Tyler Miller

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  1. I will probably level off once everyone who can afford a smartphone has one.

  2. It not I, sorry.

  3. Very interesting. So basically….we here in the US are blood thirsty data-whores. Nice. I guess Sprint is my pimp, lol.

  4. Mike, you seriously think that’s how the system works?

  5. @Mike: how about OTA updates? the more functions a smartphone gets, the more updates it will need. I do not see this leveling off anytime soon.

  6. It won’t be leveling off. Phones are constantly getting better. They are doing more and more almost every day and they are also getting it done with less wait. You are more inclined to use data on a device and network that can keep up with you. If you own a Nexus One, you are definitely going to be using more data than if you are on a G1.

  7. I blame fantasy football.

  8. It will level off either when laws of physics get in the way or shortly before human extinction.

  9. Give me…LUDICROUS SPEED! :D

  10. An exabyte is 1,000 petabytes. A petabyte is 1,000 gigabytes.

  11. Snap??? LOL!

  12. @drew, 1000gigabytes =1 terabyte, 1000 terabytes = 1petabyte, 1000 petabytes = 1 exabyte

  13. this is kind of scary when you really think about it…

  14. Infocalypse, anyone?

  15. If there are 50 million smartphone users in the US that means that each one is generating approximately 1.67GB a month in traffic, wich I think is a lot since I’m almost sure there aren’t that many smartphones being used..

  16. I think Mike is right, “eventually” data usage will even out like all usages even out, just as the blue line indicates of the mobile voice usage. Still, two factors will attribute to the increase of mobile data usage. Population growth and mobile networks turning into ISPs will provide a throughput to mobile data usage.

  17. Actually data is counted in multiples of 1024. So 1 exabyte = 1024 petabytes, 1 petabyte = 1024 terabytes, 1 terabyte = 1024 gigabytes and so on.

    Rounding off bytes to multiples of 1000 is just a way for marketers to make it seem as if you’re getting more than what you pay for. Thats why you actually only get 14.8GB when you purchase a 16GB SD card.

  18. Pizza Bites

  19. Too many bytes…..I think its suppertime

  20. It seems we have two problems here:
    1. The feature sets of smartphones are progressing at a much faster rate than the capability of networks.
    2. The networks seem to think that the solution to this problem is to throttle usage and raise prices so that usage begins to fall again. (it won’t).
    Solutions are more difficult to figure out. Throttling will be inevitable at some point, but until then we need to increase network efficiency, and the networks need to realize that they have to cut into their bottom line to upgrade their networks before data users jump ship to networks that can provide them with the data speeds they want.

  21. Actually, my penis is 2 petabytes long. Since data is invisible, so is my penis. Sorry ladies. :S

  22. @Richy wouldn’t it be: 1024gigabytes =1 terabyte, 1024 terabytes = 1petabyte, 1024 petabytes = 1 exabyte? Since 1024 bytes = 1MB, 1024MB = 1GB and so forth?

  23. Yeah, but I started at exabyte because that’s what started the discussion. I just didn’t feel like writing anymore.

  24. more than 10 percent of that would be watching youtube videos lol

  25. With the upgrading of cellular towers and increase in speed of cellular internet connections, will cellular internet replace broadband from the cable company?

  26. and people think there are way to many Android smartphones coming out every week.. theres a reason! lol

  27. “all words ever spoken by human beings could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data” – in what format? Written in crayon on A3 paper and pictured with a 14MP camera before being posted as a jpeg? LOL

  28. “all words ever spoken by human beings could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data”

    Does that include the words of Cromagnon and Neanderthals?
    How about the words of Australopithecus? What kind of alphabet did they use I wonder…

  29. It’s gone to plaid…

  30. It is a standard “S” adoption curve, that is augmented by the type of data consumed over time increases in size, it won’t level off, but it will at some point adopt a more Logarithmic shape and growth at a decreasing rate will occur, it will begin to look as though it will level off, but shouldn’t have a horizontal asymptote as physical and scientific achievements begin to limit the possibilities of data transfers, the number of people will also be leveling off ( technically it would probably something of a wave).

  31. One exabyte per what, per a clump of time or since the data game began?

  32. Okay, but at what bit rate?

  33. @MikeDouche,

    I wouldn’t go around bragging about that. And aren’t you late for homeroom?

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