A new study from ABI Research says about 16% of mobile data is diverted away from conventional mobile networks today – and that figure is expected to treble to 48% by 2015. However, the overall amount of data traffic will have grown by a factor of 30 by then, which means that 'offloaded' data will expand 100-fold.
Offloading mobile data refers to reducing or relieving network congestion by moving data traffic onto alternatives such as WiFi, femtocells, mobile content delivery networks and media optimisation (improved compression).
Aditya Kaul, ABI Research practice director, said "Each of these offload and optimization technologies is aimed at solving a particular problem and they will all coexist. Wi-Fi is effective in covering limited areas containing many users, such as transport stations and sports venues. A femtocell, in contrast, is a good solution for targeting small numbers of heavy data users. Mobile CDNs attack the problem of frequently-used content, for example a video that has ‘gone viral’, by caching the file locally rather than loading it onto the network for each download request."