Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Twitter discussion on 'Data Tsunami' myth


@disruptivedean - Dean Bubley
@StevenJCrowley - Steve Crowley
@WhatTheBit - Stefan Constantine
@labboudles - Leila Abboud
@twehmeier - Thomas Wehmeier
@jamncl4 - Jonathan Morgan
@wifidave - Dave Wright

@disruptivedean: Data tsunami myth washing further out to sea: Telefonica mobile data grew 35% YoY to Q1, vs. data rev growth of 28%.

@disruptivedean: Increasingly convinced that some cellular data growth numbers & forecasts are over-inflated - mainly to sway regulators on spectrum policy

@StevenJCrowley: Wonder how much of Telefonica lower data growth is from Spain's unusually bad economy versus normal "S curve"

@twehmeier: Did you see that shockingly unbalanced story on data traffic in FT? Pure spin. Telefonica is v representative of Euro ops. The other factor is vendors perpetuating the myth to sell their products and services

@WhatTheBit: you should do some research into operator spectrum holdings versus actual utilization, I'm sure the results would B shocking

@twehmeier: The other factor is vendors perpetuating the myth to sell their products and services

@disruptivedean: Don't think Spanish economy that much an issue. Growth been flattening in UK & Germany for a while -

@disruptivedean: The contrast in attitude between TF corporate vs. TF Digital is striking sometimes.

@labboudles: that's interesting, is it typical of others ops numbers, ie data makes them money so stop whining abt capex/google?

@disruptivedean: It's certainly true for VF in Europe - they have faster data rev growth than traffic growth. Caps/tiers fixed the problem

@disruptivedean: Basic pricing tiers/caps + user-controlled WiFi have "fixed" the problem. Has undermined need for more complex solutions & tech

@twehmeier: Indeed. amazes me how little emphasis placed on imprtnce of pricing. Next prob will be working out how to bring traffic back

@disruptivedean: Yes, especially with LTE - in some places/networks we're heading for overcapacity. Not quite as bad as fibre in 2001, but scary

@twehmeier: And that will likely lead to more naive pricing models that only serve to accelerate self-commoditisation of value of data!

@twehmeier: Telenor firsy reported faster data revenue growth versus traffic back in 2010. And that's in some of the world's most advanced smartphone and MBB markets...

@labboudles: thought so since that was case in France, but admit had not looked at all ops trends

@disruptivedean: Also beware that some operators (eg AT&T) have started adding in WiFi hotspot traffic to bump up the numbers

@twehmeier: Shameless lobbying....

@labboudles: where is there overcapacity?! Places where LTE has been built and already used?

@twehmeier: imagine a market where Wi-Fi is ubiquitous and all operators deploy LTE on top of pre-existing HSPA/HSPA+. And remember average utilisation of European 3G networks is typically only in the 35-40% range and pretty steady

@labboudles: that's a ways off in real world though

@labboudles: ok that I just don't understand, then why is my user experience of mobile Internet so crap n London, Paris ?

@disruptivedean: Depends how you calculate it. Bear in mind many MNOs don't "light up" all spectrum initially, but add extra capacity

@disruptivedean: Plenty of other bottlenecks - most notable is poor coverage, could be backhaul, stuff in core network, even DNS etc

@disruptivedean: Congestion often caused by too much signalling (setting up/tearing down IP conxns), not sheer data "tonnage"

@jamncl4: Actually I think we are also seeing the impact of the shift from laptops to tablets and smartphones

@jamncl4: People can't afford multiple data plans so they shift from laptop to Smartphones which inherently use less data

@wifidave: How did you arrive at 35%/28%? I found 15.4% YoY in "mobile data revenue", and couldn't find traffic figures.

@jamncl4: Same with tablets which also pull usage away from laptop except most tablets are wifi only

@jamncl4: WiFi is in enough places that I can't justify two data plans so I stick to wifi tablet and data pla smartphone

@disruptivedean: It's on page 6 of the results presentation, showing rapid convergence of traffic & revenue growth

@jamncl4: The smartphone will take a few years to catch up to laptops in terms of data requirements thus "slowdown" growth

@disruptivedean: Bear in mind rising % of people don't have "plans" but use PAYG for data. But yes, dongle traffic falling, phone rising

@jamncl4: But Smartphone require higher signaling than laptops due to apps & power saving techniques;massive signal growth

@disruptivedean: Tablet/laptop substitution (or not) largely irrelevant as both are generally WiFi-only & will most likely stay that way

@jamncl4: Multi device plans could be interesting moving forward and there impact on this

@jamncl4: I disagree. Majority of traffic has come from laptops in past so more wifi & tablets reduces the traffic

@wifidave: @disruptivedean OK, I see. The 27% is a subset of the 15.4%.

@jamncl4: I think the real issue is that people don't want to pay for 2 plans & the 1 plan in general is Smartphone for now. Multidevice PAYG plans will be interesting on their impact.

@wifidave: Ponder this > Assuming TF #s are cell data, they represent a mobile data Traffic/Rev YoY growth ratio of 1.29:1 . The same ratio for #ChinaMobile in Q4'11 was 1.28:1 . For #ChinaMobile, cell data grew at 56.1% traffic and 43.5% revenues.

@wifidave: ATT says that "wireless data traffic" doubled in 2011 from 2010. ( but elsewhere report that their Wi-Fi traffic increased 550% in Q4'11. ( all while wireless data revenues only grew 19.4% YoY in Q4'11 (

@wifidave: The real growth (337% and 550% for CM and ATT) is in Wi-Fi as Dean said. Not adding much to rev yet.

@disruptivedean: Absolutely agree more WiFi = less "big device mobile data traffic". Unconvinced it matters if big device = laptop/tablet


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