Perhaps the effectiveness of a mobile website is largely dependent on the mobile connection that is used to access a mobile-optimized website. As some parts of the world are already experiencing 4G there are many who are still grappling with 2G and 3G connections. With content heavy websites frequently incorporating videos and rich media, the mobile experience still has to go a long way to come close to being “usable”.
For those new to mobile standards, here’s a brief history on mobile telephony. It started with 0G (mobile radio telephone) available as a commercial service that was part of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) with their own telephone numbers followed by 1G and 2G – an onset of wireless telephone technology and mobile communications. While 1G used analog radio signals, 2G was characterized by digital radio signals. In the current context, 3G means higher speed connections that allow for video calls and watching online television while 4G includes new technical features and higher bandwidth. Depending on coverage, 4G will have connection speeds close to Wi-Fi and while the latter is limited by range, 4G is designed to replace high range mobile networks.
Allot Communications reported significant growth (about 68% increase) in mobile bandwidth usage during the first six months of 2010. Again, video streaming applications accounted for a bulk of bandwidth usage. “The findings also clearly demonstrate the close ties between mobile broadband and social networking. Whether it’s YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, social networking via mobile devices is becoming a ‘must have’ for subscribers and we expect that this is just the beginning.” said Rami Hadar, CEO of Allot Communications. Some more findings from the report:
- YouTube now solely accounts for 13% of mobile data bandwidth.
- P2P and HTTP downloads together represent a significant 31% of mobile bandwidth, with an aggregate growth rate of 80%.
- VoIP and IM grew by 84%. Skype remains the undisputed VoIP market leader, accounting for 83% of mobile VoIP bandwidth.
It is clear from the pace at which mobile data bandwidth continues to grow, that this market has yet to reach its full potential. As new mobile internet devices, applications, services and more continue to be developed, it seems certain that the challenges faced today by mobile broadband operators are just the beginning.