Mobile Data Traffic to Grow Tenfold by 2016, Ericsson Study Shows

Video will drive surge in Internet use.

As smart phones increasingly take over, mobile data traffic is surging, a study by Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson showed on Monday, saying such traffic is set to increase tenfold over the next five years.

In its Traffic and Market Data report, which Ericsson said was based on measurements "recorded over several years in live networks covering all regions of the world," the company said global smartphone traffic was expected to triple during 2011 alone.

"Mobile broadband subscriptions will reach almost five billion in 2016, up from the expected 900 million by the end of 2011," the company said, pointing out that "that would represent 60% year-on-year growth."

The surge in internet access over the next five years, regardless of the device used, was expected to especially be driven by video, Ericsson said.

The report also signaled a growing digital divide between the smartphone haves and the have-nots.

"By 2016, users living [in urban areas covering] less than 1% of the Earth's total area are set to generate around 60% of mobile traffic," the report said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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