Mobile data traffic expected to rise 40-fold over next 5 years

As smartphones like the iPhone and Android take over the mobile Web, the amount of data traffic going over cellular networks is expected to grow 40-fold over the next five years. UK firm Coda Research Consultancy forecasts that in the U.S. alone mobile handset data traffic will grow from 8 petabytes/month this year to 327 petabytes/month in 2015. That amounts to a 117 per cent compound annual growth rate.

A lot of that data will come in the form of mobile Web browsing, with the biggest contributor expected to be mobile video. By 2015, mobile video will account for 68.5 per cent of all mobile data usage in the US (or 224 petabytes/month). Coda estimates that 95 million mobile handset subscribers in the U.S. will be watching video on their phones in five years out of a total of 158 million mobile internet users.

Mobile data revenues (not including SMS charges) are forecast to make up 87 per cent of all data revenue for the carriers by 2015. But they will have a hard time keeping up with demand unless they adopt tiered pricing, predicts Coda co-founder Steve Smith. Consumers used to all-you-can-eat data access from their phones will find that unappealing. But carriers will have to figure out a way to pay for massive network upgrades. Coda estimates that if the carrier's froze their networks today, they would reach 100 percent utilization at peak capacity by 2012, when 40 per cent of phones will be smartphones. Article