Global mobile data traffic expanded at 69 per cent in 2012 and is anticipated to grow at 72 per cent this year to reach 23,000 peta bytes, according to a study ABI Research.
Total mobile data traffic will likely reach 131,000 peta bytes by 2018. As of first quarter of 2013, only few of mobile operators have fully engaged on a small cell strategy that incorporates Wi-Fi hotspots and small cell LTE base stations.
Operators that have adopted a small cell strategy include Softbank NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, KT, Uplus and Verizon Wireless.
The research estimates that the available spectrum for the mobile cellular community will increase from around 300 MHz to 1,500 MHz over the next five to ten years.
Incumbent mobile operators and equipment vendors would prefer this spectrum to be allocated on a dedicated basis but the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the European Commission, UK's Ofcom, and a number of additional governments are keen to evaluate radio technologies, such as white space TV, as they would enhance spectrum capacity while allowing co-habiting users.