The number of mobile Internet devices will outnumber people by the end of the year, Cisco reported in its Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update.
“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,” the report stated. “There will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices in 2016, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules-exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.3 billion).”
What’s more, mobile data traffic grew more than two-fold in 2011, the fourth year in a row that traffic has doubled. The mobile data traffic for the year was actually eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000, indicating a rapid adaption of mobile by the rest of the world. Unlike the web of 2000, it’s more than just geeks that are surfing the mobile world in the palm of their hands.
For the first time, mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent of all traffic.
Average smartphone use nearly tripled in 2011 at 150 MB per month, up from 55 MB per month in 2010. While smartphones represent only 12 percent of global handsets, they represent over 82 percent of global handset traffic. The typical smartphone generated 35 more times data traffic than the typical basic feature cell phone.
Android use has also risen higher than the level of data use for iPhones for the first time.
The number of mobile connected tablets tripled in 2011 to 34 million, each tablet generating 3.4 times the traffic of the average smartphone.
Mobile connection speeds also increased 66 percent for the year, with the average network download speed at 314 kilobytes per second compared to 189 kbps in 2010. The average connection speed for smartphones was 1,344 kbps in 2011, compared to 986 kpbs in 2010.
“Mobile data services are well on their way to becoming necessities for many network users. Mobile voice service is already considered a necessity by most, and mobile data, video, and TV services are fast becoming an essential part of consumers’ lives,” the report concluded. “… The next 5 years are projected to provide unabated mobile video adoption despite uncertain macroeconomic conditions in many parts of the world.”