According to Cisco’s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast – ”by the end of 2012, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on Earth, and by 2016 there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita. There will also be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices in 2016, exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.3 billion).”
The research also showed that worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold over the next five years, reaching 10.8 exabytes per month. (An exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to 1 quintillion bytes)
The main drivers of mobile traffic are being attributed to the following areas:
1) More streamed content — as consumer expectations grow and more affordable cloud services come into play, more on demand content will be available instead of just downloads.
2) More Mobile Connections — a predicted 10 billion mobile internet devices will be connected. In countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, it’s common for each person to own more than one connected mobile device.
3) Enhanced Computing of Devices – Mobile devices are becoming just as powerful with the ability to consume, process and stream data. A prime example is in the growth and popularity of tablets and e-Readers.
4) Faster Mobile Speeds – As mobile network providers upgrade to the latest data streaming speeds like 4GLTE, it will be the key driver for growth.
5) More Mobile Video – With faster mobile network speeds come the ability to stream more video content which is predicted to dominate over 70% of total mobile traffic by 2016.
Below is a chart on the predicted growth of mobile data in the next five years. As demand for more data and speed continues to surge, perhaps the days of unlimited data, talk and text from mobile carriers are numbered.
Here’s a really cute video on A Mobile Love Story in Paris: How Multiple Devices will Drive Data Traffic in 2016
Source: Cisco, United Nations