50% Of The Traffic In 10% Of The Cells

In a recent press conference, Vodafone UK gave some numbers concerning the use of their 3G network. According to them, 50% of the data traffic is handled by only 10% of the cells. As I don't know what was said around that statement I wonder if they see this as good or bad!?

I can see several conclusions to draw from this statement:

I guess mobile operators would prefer a uniform traffic distribution in their network, both in space and time. But it doesn't even happen for voice calls as traffic is much higher in cities compared to the countryside and highly varies throughout the day. That's why operators use high capacity cells and increase base station density in cities.

So if most of the traffic is occuring in only few cells it could be good for Vodafone because they only need to upgrade those cells for higher data capacity on the air interface and the backhaul while while leaving the rest of their network as it is. And if that is not enough in high use areas additional base stations could be put in place, but again only in certain areas.That is simpler and maybe also cheapter than to densify the network throughout the country because traffic distribution is uniform.

On the negative side it could of course also mean that they can't keep up in the future adding capacity fast enough. For the moment, I hear that Vodafone's network is still doing fine, even in densly populated areas.

So if you are reading this and have some more background information or want to share your own thoughts around this statement, please consider leaving a comment.

One thought on “50% Of The Traffic In 10% Of The Cells”

  1. I have heard similar statements but they were more specific such as “80% of data traffic is generated by 10% of our subscriber base”. These have been expressed in a negative way and indicate the presence of so called “abusers” who buy mobile broadband products and use P2P applications endlessly.

    Then again I am aware that Vodafone is currently upgrading a lot of cells to 7.2Mbps in areas other than London so perhaps it was said to indicate that currently most of the data traffic originates from particular locations and by doing these upgrades more people will have the opportunity to use mobile broadband.

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