Vodafone Germany said that more than 770 million GB of data was transmitted through its mobile network over the past 12 months. This is almost a 40 percent increase compared to 2018.
The largest amount of data was registered in North Rhine-Westphalia, with 134 million GB consumed. Around 20 million GB of data passed through the network in Hamburg, 24 million in Thuringia and 35 million in Berlin.
The daily traffic record was set on 11 December, when over 2.8 million GB were sent over the network. Vodafone expected to set another record over the New Year’s holidays.
Vodafone has expanded its mobile network this year, with 7,400 4G/LTE mobile sites in operation. It increased the capacity of the network and reduced the number of white spots in its LTE coverage over a total area of almost 35,000 square kilometers. In addition, the operator started 5G services in August and currently has 140 5G antennae in more than 40 cities available to provide data connection at higher speeds.
Considering that mobile data is a long-established and essential feature of nearly every sphere of life, a 40 percent increase in its use in just one year, in a developed market and on the network of a major operator, is something to sit up and take notice of.
While the commencement of 5G service is doubtless a factor, it cannot be the only factor and actually appears not to be the most important one. Being new, the high-speed service is not nearly as widely available and subscribed to as 4G/LTE. And furthermore, it was launched after more than half the year had already gone by. Therefore, there must have been other reasons for the dramatic jump in data consumption.
Vodafone stated that it increased the capacity of its LTE network and reduced the number of white spots or dead spots in the coverage footprint. We believe these factors are very important, and that they have something important to say to mobile operators in general about the value of investment in various kinds of networks.
While 5G is exciting and promises not only higher speeds but entire new applications, MNOs should not lose sight of the importance of investing in LTE networks. LTE is far from being a “legacy” technology, and very large numbers of customers will continue to utilize it for a long time to come. Traffic over LTE will continue to generate large amounts of revenue for operators—the more so if they are aggressively maintained and improved. And this example from Germany also suggests that dead spots continue to be a major issue even in highly developed markets (the U.K. is another that comes to mind), and that working to eliminate them will pay serious dividends in data-use revenues.