Mobile Web usage surged in October: Opera

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Global mobile data traffic surged in October at the fastest rate in seven months, raising the prospect of new orders for the makers of telecoms equipment.

Customers and visitors at the Apple Store in Boston, July 19, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The largest mobile Internet browser firm Opera Software ASA said on Wednesday that global data traffic through its browser rose 15 percent in October from September, and surged 134 percent from a year ago.

The mobile Internet market has boomed since the introduction of Apple Inc’s iPhone in 2007.

Wireless operators are keen on raising revenue from Internet browsing and the social networking boom as revenue from traditional voice calls declines, but they are facing increasingly congested networks.

The rising pressure on networks is helping browsers such as Opera, which packages up to 90 percent of the data to save network bandwidth.

Telecoms gear makers Nokia Siemens, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, which have struggled in recent years in the face of aggressive pricing by Asian rivals, expect rising data traffic to lead to new orders.

Fearful of losing customers, only a few operators have publicly admitted to the problem of keeping pace with data traffic, but 63 percent are experiencing difficulties, a global survey showed earlier this month.

Opera has increased its lead over rival browsers -- from Blackberry maker RIM, and from Apple and Nokia -- in the last few months and controlled 24.5 percent of the market in October, according to Web analytics firm StatCounter.

The Blackberry, iPhone and Nokia browsers all have 16 to 18 percent market shares.

Opera has 76.3 million users for its Opera Mini browser, who all access the Internet through Opera’s servers -- giving the firm usage data -- and who generated 616 million megabytes of data traffic for operators worldwide last month.