There is a very simple reason why lots more mobile bandwidth is going to be needed in coming years. The number of discrete users and devices will grow; while the types of apps people use is changing.
Notably, consumption of video on mobile phones is exploding, mobile devices are the primary Internet access device globally, and therefore mobile video consumption will drive aggregate mobile bandwidth demand.
According to Ooyala, mobile video consumption grew 367 percent between the first quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2015.
In fact, mobile devices represented fully 42 percent of all video viewing in the first quarter of 2015.
Bandwidth intensity is the issue. Video, for example, simply requires an order of magnitude or two orders of magnitude bandwidth than most other apps. A one hour IP-based voice call might consume 28.8 Mbytes. An hour of mobile video consumption might consume 120 Mbytes. An hour of high definition TV consumption might consume 2.5 Gbytes.
Sample Service and Application Bandwidth Comparisons
Application or Service Name
MMS with video
IP telephony (1-hour call)
Social networking (1 hour)
Online music streaming (1 hour)
Video and TV (1 hour)
Online video streaming (1 hour)
Web conferencing with webcam (1 hour)
HD TV programming (1 hour, MPEG 4)
Room-based videoconferencing (1 hour, multicodec telepresence)
Summary of Per-Device Usage Growth, MB per Month