Mobile data traffic hits record peak

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Mobile data traffic hits record peak

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said yesterday that the amount of mobile data traffic exceeded 100,000 terabytes for the first time last month, attributed mainly to a sharp increase in LTE data usage.

The surge in LTE data usage came in April after mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ launched unlimited LTE data plans in which users will not be faced with additional charges, though a speed limit is incurred after a certain amount is used.

According to the ministry, 2G, 3G and 4G mobile data traffic for July – with the exception of WiFi – was recorded at 102,182 terabytes.
Among total mobile data traffic for July, 93,746 terabytes, or 91.7 percent, came from LTE data use, 8,369 terabytes was attributed to 3G, and 67 terabytes came from 2G and 3G feature phones.

Compared to June, the LTE data traffic increased 30,000 terabytes from 83,644 terabytes, while 3G data usage declined.

“Since the download speed of the LTE network is incomparably faster than 3G, the average data usage of LTE users is much higher,” a mobile carrier spokesman said.

While the amount of LTE traffic increased more than six-fold from two years ago at 15,501 terabytes, 3G traffic dropped 268 percent over the same period.

Since the launch of unlimited LTE data plans, average monthly data use among LTE clients has also increased steadily.

In April, LTE users’ average monthly data use totaled 2,331 megabytes. That increased in May to 2,539 megabytes, with 2,690 megabytes in June and 2,955 megabytes in July. Meanwhile, 3G smartphone users used an average of 1,175 megabytes of data in July.

The number of LTE subscribers stands at 33.2 million, which accounts for 59.4 percent of all mobile phone users. The number of 3G subscribers is 15.9 million, or 28.4 percent.

The figure is indicative of the fact that though LTE users do not outnumber 3G users by much, mobile data traffic among LTE users is still significantly higher.

Mobile data traffic for4G LTE subscribers surpassed 70,000 terabytes for the first time in May, according to the ministry. Since then, it has increased by about 10,000 terabytes each month to post 83,644 terabytes in June and 93,746 terabytes in July.

3G data traffic, which was once higher than LTE in July 2012, was overtaken by LTE just three months later. In July, LTE traffic was 10 times higher than 3G traffic.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]


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