A month back we got the stats from Finland that showed that 92% of 3G data traffic was generated by PCs, 4% from Symbian smartphones and 4% from all other sources.
I've got some more anecdotal data today from another advanced cellular operator (from someone who manages the 3G radio network). He said that his traffic was made up of:
- c70% HSDPA / HSUPA cards & USB dongles in PCs
- c20% older WCDMA 3G cards in PCs
- 8% from fixed-wireless 3G terminals (routers & wireless backup etc)
<1% from all handsets
Now presumably this excludes a bit of 2G data from Blackberries & unlocked iPhones and ordinary WAP phones, but it still points to the fact that from a radio network (and therefore capex investment & spectrum & dimensioning point of view), operators should care about 2 main things:
- Circuit voice & SMS traffic from phones
- Packet data traffic from PCs
I had an argument with vendor yesterday about whether this picture will change as people adopt more smartphones, but I really can't see it migrating much for several years, especially given that 3G dongles are still just at an early phase of growth. I reckon that a small number of PCs & iPhone-type devices generate enough traffic to absolutely swamp everything else for some considerable time.
I'll draw a graphic when I get a chance, but basically there's an inverted pyramid with 10% of devices generating 90% of the traffic - and I think that the skew is likely to get worse, before it maybe evens out in a few years' time with the adoption of more iPhone-grade devices.