By 2021, mobile data traffic per active smartphone in the United States and Canada will be highest among all regions in the world, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, while voice calling and SMS remain popular.
The growth in traffic is attributed in part to technology advances in devices, such as higher resolution screens, and an increase in LTE availability. Over half of mobile users browse the Internet at least daily from their mobile device; more than 60 per cent of mobile users access a social networking site at least once a week from a mobile device. The growth in usage also corresponds to 15-30 minutes of video streaming per day.
Communications services still dominate the time spent on different applications, according to Ericsson. In the U.S., consumers use 30 per cent of their smartphone application time on voice calling, instant messaging (IM), voice and video calling over IP, email and social networking. Despite all of these communications options, the amount of time sending SMS continues to grow and overshadow instant messaging (IM) usage, the report noted, adding up to more than 1.9 billion texts sent in 2014 in the U.S. About 40 per cent of consumers in Canada text at least five times a day.
Also interesting to note is that about 90 per cent of all voice calling in the U.S. and Canada is done via traditional voice calls rather than Over-the-Top (OTT). However, most major device vendors have introduced Wi-Fi calling natively on Android and iOS systems. The report observed that up until recently, WiFi calling has been only available on smartphones but is also now being enabled on WiFi only devices such as tablets and PCs.
In general, Ericsson found that customers are demanding ubiquitous coverage and consistently high speeds for voice and data, and operators are expanding to meet that demand. Telus’s LTE network now covers 95 per cent of the Canadian population, a 10 percent increase from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, Wind Mobile has yet to announce when its LTE network will launch.
Last October, Rogers was first Canadian carrier to launch LTE-Advanced wireless service to double download speeds. Bell kicked up its LTE speeds in August of last year; Videotron launched its initial LTE foray a month later.