StatCounter's data shows worldwide Web traffic from mobile continuing to rise, especially in developing regions where mobile phones outnumber desktop PCs.
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In the U.S., 7.96% of all Web traffic comes from mobile devices, according to data from StatCounter. That includes smartphones, tablets, and other connected hardware, such as laptops with mobile broadband access. StatCounter's data shows that mobile Web use is increasing quickly, especially in developing regions where mobile phones vastly outnumber desktop computers.
For example, the percentage of mobile Web traffic in Asia climbed from 6.1% to 17.84% between 2010 and 2012, an increase of 192%. The percentage of mobile Web traffic in Africa climbed from 5.81% to 14.85% between 2010 and 2012, an increase of 156%. Every region saw increased mobile traffic, with South America falling in last place with 2.86%.
Mobile traffic accounts for more than 50% of all Web traffic in a number of countries, such as Zimbabwe and Nigeria. India, the world's second most-populous country, sees 48.24% of its mobile traffic coming from mobile phones.
The reason behind these numbers is due to the limited availability of desktop computers and the relative ubiquity of mobile devices. For many users, mobile devices are the first and only way to connect to the Internet.
In the U.S., this increase in demand for mobile data has led to fierce competition between the wireless network operators. The operators and lobbying organizations behind the wireless industry have been pitching the need for more spectrum to the FCC for years. This week at the CTIA Wireless trade show, CTIA president Steve Largent once against called for the government to speed up efforts to make more spectrum available for mobile data. It's one of the most contentious issues facing the industry.
Verizon Wireless, for example, is facing pushback from competitors and public interest groups in its pursuit of 122 AWS spectrum licenses from a consortium of cable companies. T-Mobile has spoken against it, saying that it will give Verizon too much spectrum.
Last year the FCC blocked AT&T's attempt to purchase T-Mobile USA, which it did in an attempt to gain access to more spectrum. Companies such as AT&T have cited huge increases in demand for data as the reason behind its move to tiered data plans.
The need for improved access to wireless broadband is clear. The FCC and other organizations have plans to fix the issue but will face regulatory and other obstacles along the way.
During this time--especially as more 4G networks come online--mobile Web use will push the limits of what the industry is able to offer.
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