Teltarif has recently reported (in German) some figures on fixed and mobile network usage in Germany on the 31st December 2011 which are interesting to play around with a bit. The article says that the Vodafone Germany network has transported 25 million megabytes between 8pm and 3am the other morning, i.e. in 7 hours.
Let's say that during that time the data rate on the interfaces to the rest of the Internet was more or less the same, what's the throughput during that time with this number? Here's the math:
- 25.000.000 megabytes = 25.000 gigabytes (SI prefix system with 1 GB = 1000 MB)
- 25.000 GB * 8 = 200.000 gigabits
- 200.000 gigabits / (7 hours * 60 minutes *60 seconds) = 7,93 GBit/s
7,93 GBit/s quite an impressive number, that's (7,93 GBit/s * 60 seconds * 60 minutes) / 8 bytes = 3.5 terabytes per hour of data transferred.
Let's just assume for a second the data rate would always be that high, which is likely not the case since this is a high load scenario, but just for the fun of doing it and comparing it to something else I have in mind the amount of data transferred per day would look like this:
- 3.5 TB/h * 24h = 84 TB per day
Again a high number, but already back in 2010, 3UK reported that they shuffle 100 TB a day through their network. The numbers are in the same ballpark coming from different network operators which helps to ascertain that at least the order of magnitude is correct (I'm always a bit cautios with such reports as they don't contain a lot of detail how and what exactly was measured and went through legal and public relation "washing machines" for a while). What's a bit odd is that Vodafone Germany has around 36 million customers in Germany while 3UK has around 7 million.
I would have expected that Vodafone's number is actually higher, especially as their number was not an average but during a peak load scenario while 3's number sounds like a daily average. So assuming the numbers are correct, perhaps the difference is due to pricing!? 3UK offers data very cheaply on prepaid and in very high quantities (15GB for around 18 euros and it's possible to top-up again once the limit has been reached). Vodafone Germany is not quite at this point yet (5 GB for around 24 euros). I don't have numbers on this, so this part is pure speculation.
Despite the difference in customers, however, the number of base station sites seem to be similar with 3UK saying they have about 12.000 and Vodafone Germany saying they have about 13.000 (the number is from 2009, they probably have added some more in the meantime).