Mobile users set to top 8bn by 2019, but can we support them? (and their connected devices…)

Research and analyst firm, IDATE, has said the total number of mobile customers worldwide will exceed eight billion by the end of 2018. However research by SON (Self Optimising Network) solutions provider, Cellwize, says mobile operators could start seeing a failure rate upwards of 30% for IoT / M2M applications as a result of this network congestion.

IDATE has stated that the number of mobile users is set to grow by over 21% in the next five years, to hit eight billion by 2019. In the UK alone, the total number of mobile users is expected to rise from 85.3 million in 2013 to 86.6 million in 2018. Fixed internet subscribers are also set to grow – albeit a little more slowly – with an expected increase of 18% between 2013 and 2018.

IoT devices are, naturally, also on the increase. 26 billion units are expected by 2020 according to a new whitepaper (PDF) by Cellwize. It notes that whilst we are in an era of 3G/4G, many legacy devices are still using 2G and will not be swapped anytime soon for logistical reasons. 3G has more bandwidth available, but when coverage isn’t available, carriers fall back on 2G networks which may not hold the load and cause IoT / M2M applications to miss their SLAs (Service Level Agreements.)

Some of the biggest and most vital areas where this may occur and be potentially disastrous is for; medical usage, fleet and asset management, and for mobile card payments. Large amounts of money, and even life could be at stake from

“M2M and IoT technology has grown rapidly – but some mobile networks have not evolved,” said Ofir Zemer, CEO of Cellwize. “With IoT set to increase 2G data traffic, it is vital that operators are able to optimize and address capacity across all access networks to ensure their subscribers receive the best quality of service possible.”

Total global telecoms revenue will rise from €1.19 trillion (£0.95tn) in 2013 to €1.34 trillion (£1.1tn) in 2018 – fuelled by an average annual growth of 2.5%. Traditional landline usage is on the decline and being replaced with VoIP services which is also adding to the load placed on both mobile and fixed networks. Mobile service revenue makes up the bulk of total telecom revenue, with the sector expected to reach €826 billion (£660bn) by 2018 – representing a growth of 17% in five years.

How do you think we should avoid a capacity crunch? Let us know in the comments.

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