The Future of Mobile

Mobile Data Traffic to Increase 10-fold by 2016

Alex Spencer

Ericsson has released its Traffic and Market Data report forecasting a 10-fold increase in mobile data traffic by 2016. This increase in data consumption will be driven by the growing internet access on mobile, particularly video content, as well as new smartphone launches and applications uptake.

The report also predicts that by 2016, mobile broadband subscriptions will reach almost 5bn, up from the expected 900m by the end of 2011, representing a 60 per cent compound annual growth rate. Assuming one subscription equals one person, this number represents around two-thirds of 2016's projected 7.3bn population. During 2011, meanwhile, total smartphone traffic is expected to triple, and to increase 12-fold by 2016 to roughly equal mobile PC-generated traffic.

60 per cent of mobile traffic in 2016 is set to be generated by one per cent of the Earth’s total land area. These metropolitan and urban areas will contain more than 30 per cent of the world’s population, with a density of more than 1,000 people per square kilometre.

The report is based on measurements made by Ericsson over several years, recorded in live networks across over 180 countries.

Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson Business Unit Networks, says: “Ericsson performs a broad range of measurements in order to monitor the pulse of the Networked Society – measurements that we use to efficiently design our products and plan networks. This report offers snapshots that, together, show how a growing number of people and businesses benefit from mobility, broadband and the cloud.”