LTE traffic to grow 207% in 2013

Global LTE traffic volumes will grow by 207% in 2013 driven by the surging use of mobile applications, predicted by ABI Research.

Worldwide mobile data traffic amounted to 13,412 petabytes in 2012, with 3G accounting for 46% of that total.

“In developed markets, 4G is rapidly gaining traction, Verizon Wireless, for example, has reported that 50% of its data usage is on 4G LTE.”

Driving this growth are smartphone applications, which put the number of downloads worldwide at 36.2 billion last year, up 88% on 2011 as well as the volume of data traffic their use subsequently generates.

In addition, while some applications – like messaging and VoIP apps – represent a threat to telcos’ core revenues, they can also open up new channels between service providers and their customers.

The emergent growth in enterprise apps does have potential e.g AT&T is currently invested in enterprise apps by setting up their own in-house developer program called AT&T Foundry.

While apps might be the big driver of data usage this year, ABI Research said that by 2018, “large mobile device screens and 4G data-speeds will stimulate mobile video streaming/downloads to account for 56% of total [mobile data] traffic”.