Mobile Web usage surge continued in Sept: Opera

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Global mobile data traffic continued to surge in September, Internet browser firm Opera said on Tuesday.

A high school student uses his mobile phone to send SMS messages in Seoul June 12, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Data traffic through Opera’s mobile browser -- which packages up to 90 percent of the data to save network bandwidth -- rose 8.7 percent in September from August, Opera said.

The mobile Internet market has boomed since 2007 introduction of Apple’s iPhone, which has increased all handset makers’ focus on Internet usage on the phones.

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

This is helping browsers like Opera, which package data and send only a small amount through wireless networks.

Opera, the most popular mobile browser, said in its monthly mobile Internet report that packaging of data enables mobile Internet users in total to save $8.1 billion a year in top 10 countries alone.

Data traffic on mobile operators’ networks rose on average 4.7 times last year, with some operators seeing traffic surge more than 10 times, boosted by the uptake of wireless data cards in laptops, according to telecoms equipment firm Nokia Siemens.

Nokia Siemens and rivals Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, which have suffered over the last few years from aggressive pricing from Asian rivals like Huawei, are also looking for rising data traffic as a lead into new orders.

Opera has 35.6 million users of its Opera Mini browser who all access the Internet through Opera’s servers -- giving the firm usage data -- and who generated 227 million megabytes of data traffic for operators worldwide last month.

Opera has increased its lead over the iPhone browser in the last few months, and controls 26.9 percent of the market in October so far, according to Web analytics firm StatCounter. The iPhone browser and Nokia browser followed with 21.2 percent and 20.8 percent of the market.

Editing by Steve Orlofsky