By 2016 mobile data traffic will explode as smartphones become ubiquitous and people increasingly rely on their connected devices for every facet of their lives.
The mobile data trend will be most noticeable in thriving metropolitan and urban areas with a density of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer.
"These areas represent less than 1 percent of the Earth's total land area, yet they are set to generate around 60 percent of total mobile traffic," said Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson in a November 7 study on Traffic and Market Data.
Ericsson forecasts that mobile data traffic will triple during 2011 and increase 10-fold by 2016. Mobile broadband subscriptions will also increase, jumping from 900 million at the end of 2011 to close to 5 billion in 2016.
The increase in data traffic will be chiefly driven by consumers’ voracious appetites for video says Ericsson. Faster mobile broadband, the arrival of more capable smartphones and a continuing fascination with mobile apps will contribute to the trend too.
Traffic generated by enhanced smartphones will increase 12-fold by 2016 says Ericsson.
An October 31 report by software and enterprise hardware company Oracle found that 47 percent of mobile customers had increased their data use in the last 12 months and close to 70 percent of consumers owned or used a smartphone.