10 billion mobile connections!!

That Cisco’s always been prescient. Three years ago, the networking giant predicted a 66-fold increase in worldwide mobile data traffic — a surge that was expected to dovetail with the spread of 4G networks. With us so far? Sounds pretty obvious sensible, right? Well, the company’s got more wisdom to share from its crystal ball: the outfit’s just released its annual mobile data traffic forecast, and the marquee stat is that there will be an estimated 10 billion mobile connections by 2016. And though Cisco expects the bulk of these (8 billion) to take the form of cell phones, it also foresees a rise in tablets: there will be 5 billion of them, the company says, and that’s not even counting all those WiFi-only models floating around (Cisco tallies WiFi traffic in a different forecast, released later in the year). If the market does indeed swell to 5 billion cellular-connected tablets, that would represent a 25 percent jump over today’s global figure. Moreover, Cisco estimates that by 2016 21 percent of those 5 billion tablet owners will be relying solely on mobile data to get their internet fix.All told, whatever the mix of smartphones and tablets, we’re going to be chugging down an insane amount of data: 10.8 exabytes per month, worldwide, or 130 exabytes annually — a lofty sum that breaks down to 33 billion DVDs, among other cutesy equivalents. One last figure before we sent you off into a statistic-laced coma: 4G will account for only six percent of mobile connections by 2016, but is expected to generate 36 percent of mobile data traffic. We’ll let you newly minted LTE adopters chew on your piggy data-hogging habits; the rest of you can find more numbers in the PR after the break.


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