By 2014, the amount of mobile data traffic generated each month will significantly exceed the traffic generated in all of 2008, according to ABI Research.
An average of 1.6 exabytes of data will be transmitted each month in 2014, compared to 1.3 exabytes for the whole of 2008, the research firm said.
By that time, Asia-Pacific will have overtaken Western Europe as the largest market, contributing to 28% of all traffic.
Despite the preponderance of smartphones, the bulk of traffic is - and will continue to be - generated by laptops with modems, ABI said.
“The launch of 4G services promises even more data capability – full multimedia on a greater number of devices,” senior analyst Jeff Orr said. “But it’s a more pragmatic approach than 3G’s - data-centric devices will be adopted first, rather than a large number of phones.”
Although two-thirds of today's traffic is generated by add-on cellular modems, by 2014 more than 50% will be generated by laptops with embedded wireless modems, he added.
Web and internet access will contribute 74% of the world's traffic, followed by video and audio streaming at 26%.
Despite carrier concerns over VoIP services such as Skype and Google Voice, VoIP and P2P traffic will generate less than 1% of total traffic.