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Mobile Bandwidth Usage Controlled by the One Percent

Posted on 1.13.2012

Occupy the Mobile Web!

Apparently there's more than one "One Percent," even when it comes to mobile bandwidth. It seems that the top one percent of mobile Web users consume half of the world's bandwidth, while the top 10 percent generate 90 percent of all mobile Internet traffic. And this next part is hard to believe considering how quickly mobile Internet usage is growing, but it looks like this gap is actually widening.

That is, at least, according to Arieso, the England-based company that observed this significant gap after it tracked 1.1 million customers of a European mobile operator for one day last November.

It seems that in 2009, the top three percent of users were generating just 40 percent of the traffic, but not anymore, as this percentile is using up around 70 percent of the bandwidth.

"What is unforutnate is that this study couldn't (or didn't) give us much of a profile of this "One Percent," said Michael Flanagan, Arieso's Chief Technology Officer. Flanagan does seem to think that the group is "probably diverse, with a mix of business users gaining access to the Internet over a 3G network...and individuals with generous or unlimited mobile data packages."

So it looks like this One Percent doesn't quite fit the elitist profile many associate with that other One Percent.

The survey also shared some pertinent information about how these "extreme users" were accessing the mobile Web. As it turns out, 64 percent of them were still primarily using a laptop, while about 33 percent were on smartphones and just three percent were getting online on an iPad.

This information could be useful for Internet marketers as they ponder how to go about factoring the mobile Web into their campaigns. Knowing that such a small percentage of users is actually driving all of that traffic could make one rethink the actual value of heaping money on mobile advertisements, as it seems that it would be the same small segment of users seeing most of your ads. Another important factor to consider is that many users are still on laptops when accessing the mobile Web, so is it going to be worth it to spend the extra money to have your advertisements optimized for smaller screen devices?

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