Mobile Web Usage Keeps On Growing, And Growing, And Growing …

Browser maker Opera has released its latest ‘State of the Mobile Web’ report this morning, claiming that there was a huge surge in mobile web usage past September.

Last month, more than 35.6 million people used Opera Mini (which is now serving over 500 million pageviews per day on average on a wide range of mobile devices), up 11.5% compared to August 2009 and more than 150% compared to September 2008. The Norway software developer also claims more than 2 petabytes of data is now processed by its servers on a monthly basis. That’d be 2,000 terabytes.

Data traffic through Opera’s mobile browser — which compresses up to 90% of the data to save network bandwidth – rose 8.7% in September compared to August, the company said. In total, it gained about 4 million new Opera Mini users in that same period of time.

Opera also said users in the top 10 countries (Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Poland and Vietnam) save up to $672 million USD per month, or over $8.1 billion USD per year, thanks to the compression rate of 90% and the subsequent savings in mobile data charges from users’ operators.

To calculate these numbers, which I question, Opera looked at the top operators in each country, determined how much they typically charge per MB of browsing, and averaged those figures together. The average cost of browsing in each country was then multiplied by the amount of traffic generated in each country, and the resulting totals were summed and compared to the totals for uncompressed data traffic. The big caveat: Opera’s survey only reflects metered rates (cost per MB) and not flat-rate subscription options, which skews the numbers in their favor.

The fact that mobile web usage continues to surge is hardly surprising, but Opera’s monthly reports reflect the rate of increase quite nicely on a monthly basis. Here’s a graph that shows the evolution as measured by data consumption: