Cisco today released its annual mobile data traffic forecast and it estimated that there will be 10 billion mobile connections by 2016. Eight billion out of this astronomical number represents cell phones — a huge estimate when you consider it means the mobile penetration rate will be at roughly 100 percent or more.
The real surprise came when Cisco said that it foresees a rise in tablets, predicting that 5 billion of them will be out in the world, which doesn’t even include all WiFi-only models.
The San Jose-based networking company claims the carrier-enabled tablet market will jump 25 percent over today’s current numbers. Cisco also estimates that by 2016 21 percent of those 5 billion tablet owners will be relying solely on mobile data to get by. The prediction of five billion tablets is really lofty, as it suggest that consumers will commit themselves into a two-year contract agreement with a cell phone provider.
I don’t know if I agree with that. Why would consumers splurge hundreds of dollars more on a cellular-connected tablet when they could settle for a WiFi-only model and use free Internet at any local cafe or fast food restaurant? We also know that the use cases for tablets so far are in the home at night, which makes it even easier for many users to just stick with WiFi.
Anyway, regardless of the different types of smartphones and tablets, it’s going to require a ridiculously large amount of data – like 10.8 exabytes per month, worldwide, or 130 exabytes annually. Yikes. One last tidbit of info has to do with 4G, as it will account for only six percent of mobile connections by 2016, but is expected to generate 36 percent of mobile data traffic.