Mysterious Collapse in Mobile Internet Traffic from Iran in July

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

The State of the Mobile Web Report from mobile web browser developer Opera showcases some of the most interesting changes in regions with fluctuating Opera Mini users. Despite a consistent growth of 5 to 10 percent per month in usage of the Opera Mini browser worldwide they say that they sometimes observe significant month on month changes in the browser's user base on a regional basis.

Most remarkable is the return of Libya to the Opera Mini statistics.

After being nearly off the radar due to network restrictions since February, users are now coming back in droves. The country went dark, web-wise, on the 16th of February, just around the time of the uprising. Now, the Internet in Libya is gradually becoming reconnected to the world. In a very short time, from the 20th of August right up to today, the number of Opera Mini users in Libya is skyrocketing from near zero.

What happened in Iran?

Opera Mini usage declined 36% in July. While Opera says that they can find no reports of intervention, the numbers are striking. Most of the user loss occurred over five days, from July 4th to July 9th. Iran is no stranger to these quick drops. On June 14, 2011, Opera Mini reached an all-time high in Iran. Usage plummeted the next day more than 48%.

Data transfers and page views in Iran contracted even more than the user base. Page views declined 55%, with most of the loss coming over those five days. The amount of data Iranians use shrunk by 58%.

"Imagine being offline for half a year! I certainly wouldn't like it very much," said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. "We see clearly that the Internet is so ingrained in people's habits that usage bounced right back even after half a year of being away from it. However, the situation in Libya is clearly exceptional regarding the recent events there. At the same time, we occasionally see these interesting dips in various countries."

Globally, for the month of July, Opera Mini usage continued its upward trajectory. In all, 121.7 million people used Opera Mini and browsed more than 74.0 billion pages. A total of 10.9 petabytes of operator data were compressed for Opera Mini users.

Usage grew 5.9 percent from June 2011 and 95% from July 2010. Page views were up 10.1% month-on-month, while data rose 9.6% in the same period.

Since July 2010, page views have increased nearly 150% while data traffic rose 163%.

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Tags: opera  opera mini  Iran  Libya 

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