Monthly mobile data traffic in 2014 to exceed 2008 total

In 2014, the volume of mobile data sent and received every month by users around the world will exceed by a significant amount the total data traffic for all of 2008, according to a new study from ABI Research.

“When people think of mobile data they think of BlackBerry and iPhone handsets,” said senior analyst Jeff Orr. “But the bulk of today’s traffic is generated by laptops with PC Card and USB modems.” While add on cellular modems represented two thirds of traffic in 2008, computers with embedded 3G and 4G modems will lead in 2014 with more than 50% of the world’s mobile data traffic.

Other key findings from the study include: Global mobile data traffic surpassed 1.3 Exabytes transferred during 2008. By 2014, an average of 1.6 Exabytes will be sent and received monthly; Nearly 74% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be from web and internet access by 2014. By the same time, 26% will come from audio and video streaming. Peer to peer file sharing and VoIP contribution to overall mobile data traffic will be less than 1%; Video streaming will experience the fastest growth of any IP traffic type at a CAGR of 62% between 2008 and 2014; Western Europe accounted for nearly 31% of mobile data traffic in 2008, but the region will yield to Asia-Pacific, which will account for over 28%, by 2014.

“The launch of 4G services promises even more data capability – full multimedia on a greater number of devices,” noted Orr. “But it’s a more pragmatic approach than 3G’s; data-centric devices will be adopted first, rather than a large number of phones. As network coverage and service plans satisfy market expectations, a variety of specialized consumer electronics devices with the ability to connect anywhere will emerge.”