February 07, 2012 06:00 ET

Research Shows Excess Mobile Bandwidth Demand at Different Times in the Typical Day as People 'Sit, Browse and View'

iGR's Latest Research Shows Three Mobile Bandwidth Demand 'Peaks' During the Day During Which the Macro Network May Not Be Sufficient

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - Feb 7, 2012) - For the past quarter century, use of mobile voice networks has peaked during the morning and evening commutes. But with more smartphones and tablets using data intensive 3G and 4G networks, as well as WiFi 'hot spots', the daily usage pattern has started to shift significantly, so much so that significant mobile data usage is now seen at lunch time and in the early afternoon. And with more people 'sitting, browsing and viewing' on their high bandwidth mobile data devices, this trend is forecast to continue and strengthen.

While new network technologies may be able to handle the average level of traffic throughout the typical day, iGR's research suggests that significant "pain-points" will emerge in the cellular data network that will necessitate a different approach to network architecture. These 'pain points' will occur in high traffic areas and at specific times during the day.

iGR's new report, Localized U.S. Bandwidth Demand Forecast, 2011-2016, considers data consumption by time of day and geographic location, forecasting the severity of the problem that mobile operators face today and moving forward. Ongoing iGR market research and bandwidth usage forecasts indicate overall bandwidth consumption continues to increase each year and will only continue to increase around peak usage hours.

Today, most cellular voice and data networks use a macro cell architecture. According to the model presented in iGR's new report, mobile operators experienced nearly 8 percent more traffic, on average, than their macro networks could handle in 2011. By 2016, iGR's model indicates that end users in congested downtown work areas will exceed the capabilities of the macro mobile networks by 146 percent. This model assumes the deployment and increasing availability of LTE throughout the forecast period. Simply put, simply deploying LTE to meet excess bandwidth demand will be insufficient resulting in no service, bad service or slow service during these capacity holes.

"With data-intensive smartphones and tablets, as well as improved displays, battery life and network connectivity, our research shows that people are more likely to 'sit, browse and view' rather than just walk and talk or send a few emails," says iGR President Iain Gillott. "This change in behavior has significantly impacted how the mobile operators design, build and run their mobile data networks. Improving efficiency and throughput cannot be handled by LTE deployments alone. Re-engineering at the macro level coupled with new network architecture considerations need to be part of a carrier's deployment roadmap in order to prepare for future demands from more robust devices and data-intensive applications."

In this report, iGR presents a model based on extensive primary research that estimates how cellular data is consumed on average throughout an average U.S. workday, addressing the following questions:

  • How much cellular data will be consumed in the U.S. through 2016?
  • When does this data usage occur?
  • How much of bandwidth consumption during given time periods is in excess of what a carrier's macro cellular data network is able to deliver (on average)?
  • How much bandwidth might an operator have to deliver per kilometer squared per day to fulfill the bandwidth demand that their macro network cannot deliver?

iGR's research suggests that significant "pain-points" will emerge in the cellular data network that will necessitate a different approach to network architecture. In short, the heterogeneous network. With this type of approach, carriers stand a much better chance of weathering the massive and concentrated surges in data traffic that are already occurring and will only get worse.

For additional information on iGR's localized bandwidth forecast or details on how to obtain this report, please contact Amanda Louie, iGR's Director of Strategic Development, at (512) 554-1701 or by email at

About iGR
iGR is a market strategy consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry. Founded by Iain Gillott, one of the wireless industry's leading analysts, in late 2000 as iGillottResearch, iGR is now entering its twelfth year of operation. iGR continuously researches emerging and existent technologies, technology industries, and consumer markets. We use our detailed research to offer a range of services to help companies improve their position in the marketplace, clearly define their future direction, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

iGR researches a range of wireless and mobile products and technologies, including: smartphones; tablets; mobile applications; bandwidth demand and use; small cell architectures; DAS; LTE; WiMAX; VoLTE; IMS; NFC; GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSPA; CDMA 1x/EV-DO; iDEN; SIP; macro-, pico- and femtocells; mobile backhaul; WiFi and WiFi offload; and SIM and UICC. iGR is a member of the Rural Cellular Association.

A more complete profile of the company can be found at

Contact Information

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    Amanda Louie
    (512) 554-1701
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