Mobile data set to swell tenfold by 2016

Michael Carroll
17 May 2012

Growing smartphone penetration is one thing, but it’s good old fashioned growth in mobile subscriber numbers that will fuel rises in wireless data usage over by 2016, Informa Telecoms & Media predicts.

The research house forecasts that mobile users will consume 6.5 times more video, 8 times more music and social media, and almost 10 times more games by 2016 than they did in 2011. The firm predicts the rises in data consumption will be fueled by growing smartphone penetration, and an overall 23% increase in the number of mobile users by the end of its forecast period.

While senior analyst Guillermo Escofet predicts applications, video streaming and web browsing will be the most data-hungry services over the next five years, he notes the top revenue earners will be web browsing, P2P SMS and applications – in that order. “Video streaming will represent less than 1% of mobile data revenue in 2016, despite hogging a third of handset traffic,” he says.

Escofet predicts traffic growth will outstrip revenue rises in the next five years, noting overall data traffic will grow tenfold during the period to 39.75 trillion megabytes compared to a two-fold rise in revenue to $627.5 billion (€494 billion). Mobile operators are unlikely to cash in on the higher sales, though, with the firm predicting their share will fall from 56% in 2011 to 41% in 2016.

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