Mobile data surges up by 16% in October

Global mobile data traffic continued to surge in October, growing at the fastest pace in seven months, according to browser maker Opera.

Mobile data surges up by 16% in October

Data traffic through Opera’s mobile browser rose 16% in October from September, the company claims.

Tech-savvy consumers have used mobile phones to access the internet on the go for years, but the mobile internet market has really boomed since the 2007 introduction of Apple’s iPhone.

“When things really started to get off was when Steve Jobs stood up and said: Now you can get internet in your pocket,” says Opera’s chief financial officer, Erik Harrell. “The iPhone has opened the eyes of operators for revenue potential of web browsers and I think Google has done the same.”

The iPhone has opened the eyes of operators for revenue potential of web browsers and I think Google has done the same

Wireless operators are eager to increase revenue from internet browsing and the social-networking boom, as revenue from traditional voice calls is declining, but they are facing increasingly congested networks.

This is helping browsers such as Opera, which uses proxy servers to compress data and send only a small amount through wireless networks.

“There is a rapidly growing trend on the market toward proxy-based browsers,” says Randy Cavaiani, vice president for marketing and business development at browser firm Novarra. “If a handset maker is looking to acquire technology, they would look at strength of the server.”

Browser buy-ups

Nokia and other top phone makers have increasingly focused on developing their own browsers, but most players in the industry are certain Blackberry-maker RIM’s August deal to buy browser firm Torch will not be the last. Opera itself is rumoured to be a potential target for handset manufacturers.

Opera has 39.6 million users of its Opera Mini browser, who generated 263 million megabytes of data traffic for operators worldwide last month.

Opera continues to lead the global mobile browsing market, controlling 26.4% of the market in November so far, according to Web analytics firm StatCounter. The iPhone browser and Nokia browser follow with 22.1% and 19.7% respectively.

Opera’s browser is used extensively in emerging countries, with its market share above 50% in countries such as Russia, Indonesia, India and Ukraine.

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