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Mobile data traffic surges 115% in Q3 2017

January 3, 2018

Mobile data traffic growth reached a six-year high in Q3 2017, increasing 115 per cent globally year on year, according to a report from Strategy Analytics.

India and China accounted for half of all traffic growth globally, with Jio’s continued disruption in India, and strong growth in unlimited data plans in China driving both of those markets. In Europe, Vodafone has enjoyed healthy early traction for its zero-rated Passes.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Reliance Jio was carrying more data traffic than any mobile operator globally within six months of launch, but its disruptive impact on the market has meant profitable traffic growth has been hard to find;
  • Unlimited plans have driven accelerated traffic growth in China, up 166 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2017, and have generated a healthy recovery in both service revenue and EBITDA;
  • Vodafone had 8 million customers using Passes by the end of September, with a positive impact on ARPU and usage. It has delivered 2.6x growth in traffic in Europe over the last two years with near-flat OPEX.

Phil Kendall, report author and Director, Service Provider Group, commented, “It is encouraging to see more success stories from operators using unlimited or zero-rated pricing to unlock growth in both revenue and profitability. The success of China Unicom’s unlimited plans and collaborations with local Internet giants highlights the importance of partnering with content providers to add value to data plans.”

Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director, Service Provider Strategies, added: “Operators need to evaluate both their market environment and customer segment priorities when contemplating unlimited plan options. We applaud Vodafone’s strategy to focus on more targeted and segmented market offers in Europe, addressing discrete demand for messaging, music and video services within those segments.”


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