Mobile data is all about giving users access to every form of data possible over their smartphones, tablets and mobile gadgets. The various platforms that drive data to the user are both hardware and software-reliant, where the software constantly tries to squeeze out as much as it can from the hardware limitations.

The five platforms are:

    1. Social media and chat
    2. Streaming video
    3. Streaming music
    4. Mobile gaming
    5. Cellular-Connected Devices and the IoT

One of these changes is focusing data on targeted services. Here is a review of how this affects each of the five platforms.

1. Social Media and Chat
Social media is currently the leading technology platform for data usage in mobile devices. Over 80% of the US population under 25 years old use social media and chat apps to transmit and receive data over their smartphones.

In emerging markets, such as countries in Asia and Africa, MSP’s are using free of charge access to social media as part of their “top-up” initiatives to attract and retain subscribers to their services.
The large data gobblers are live streaming, embedded video content and Video and VoIP apps for chatting. 82% of Twitter subscribers access video content, and 90% of Twitter video views are on a smartphone or mobile device.

Video calling is now a commonplace practice, where over 50% of all US households use this media to create dialog via social media sites such as Facebook Messenger.

2. Streaming Video
With over 50% of all mobile data traffic being video content, this portion of data streaming will grow steadily to over 75% within the next 5 years.

The largest global brand is YouTube, and it accounts for 1.5 billion subscribers who are 20% of the global population. Video usage is plan dependent, since streaming uses up a lot of bandwidth and size, plans that use more video tend to be larger usually over 5GB plans, while the smaller bandwidths or data plans tend to use video with less frequency.

Unlimited data plans obviously attract a high percentage of video usage, and as prices drop through competition and technological advances, more unlimited plans will add to the ever-growing reliance on video streaming over smartphones.

3. Streaming Music
Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, streaming music has become a must in every household. With high-quality definition coming from 320kbps, streaming music is common overall 3G and 4G networks. Since audio uses up much less bandwidth, most subscribers listen to music more often and use up less of their data plans doing so. On average, the US smartphone owner will listen up to 4 hours of music a day. This digital market makes up for 78% of all music industry revenues.

4. Mobile Gaming
One of parenting boons and bans, online gaming is a continuously growing and competitive market contributing got 5 hours a week of online activity. Gaming has been a constant companion for every digital upgrade and includes very elaborate pricing, advertising and subscription models to induce higher spending. Gaming is usually less bandwidth intensive, where the main core of the software is downloaded on the mobile device, leaving the data stream open to smaller packets of code. Recent changes have moved online gaming to a partnership subscription model, where MSP’s offer free or subsidized subscriptions as part of a package.

5. Cellular-Connected Devices and the IoT
As the gadget industry grows, and as virtual assistants evolve, we see more and more smartphone linked networks appear. Where smartphones can be used to interface and control gadgets such as TV’s, computers, home security and even car systems. The latest CES 2018 is proof of how this section of the industry is growing, with more third-party gadgets being aligned with software giants such as Alphabet, and e-commerce giants Amazon.

Bottom Line
I expect that we will see more MSP collaboration with third-party software and gadget providers. More complex subscription baskets will confuse us, and more time will be spent connecting to the world via our mobile devices.

While prices for individual services will go down, we will end up paying more for more services; this is an inevitable conclusion to all technological advances.

They make our life easier, but they cost us more, so we have to work harder to get them.