Operators are already starting to respond to the data explosion by offloading traffic onto Wi-Fi or fixed networks, and this trend is expected to continue in the future. Cisco predicts that 3.1 exabytes worth of mobile data traffic will be offloaded per month by 2016, up from 72 petabytes per month in 2011.
Cisco predicts the number of connected devices will dwarf the world's population, and that mobile data traffic will grow to 10.8 exabytes per month by 2016
The firm’s latest Visual Networking Index forecasts mobile data traffic will grow 18-fold between 2011 and 2016, to reach an annual run rate of 130 exabytes. That equates to a CAGR of 78% between 2011 and 2016 - three times the anticipated growth of fixed data traffic.
The expected growth in mobile data traffic for 2015 and 2016 alone is around three times the size of the entire mobile internet today.
Growth will be led primarily by increased adoption of connected devices. Cisco predicts that there will be around ten billion devices connected to the mobile internet in 2016, including eight million handheld or personal devices and two billion M2M connections. This compares to a projected global population of just over seven billion people.
Accelerating adoption of on-demand and streaming content is expected to stimulate a 28-fold increase in mobile cloud traffic by 2016, a five-year CAGR of 95%.