By 2016 there will be more mobile devices than people on Earth

14 Feb 2012

Cisco predicts that by 2016 there will be 10bn mobile internet devices on planet Earth versus 7.3bn humans. The total volume of mobile data traffic in 2016 will be 130 exabytes – or 33bn DVDs, 4.3 quadrillion MP3 files and 813 quadrillion SMS messages.

Mobile cloud traffic is expected to account of 71pc of total mobile data traffic by 2015, up from 45pc in 2011. Worldwide mobile data will grow 18-fold over the next five years to reach 10.8 exabytes a month and 130 exabytes a year by 2016.

Cisco predicts that mobile data traffic is going to grow at an annual rate of 78pc. The significant surge is going to be a result of the growth in the number of mobile internet-connected devices that will exceed the number of people on Earth.

There will be more than 10bn mobile internet-connected devices in the world by 2016. The UN forecasts Earth’s population will reach 7.3bn by 2016.

Cisco predicts that global mobile data traffic will outgrow fixed data traffic by three times by 2016.

An exabyte is a unit of computer storage equal to 1 quintillion bytes. The annual run-rate of 130 exabytes of mobile data traffic will equal:

  • 33bn DVDs
  • 4.3 quadrillion MP3 files
  • 813 quadrillion SMS messages

In terms of the 78pc growth rate of mobile data traffic, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index focusing on Mobile Data Traffic predicts that the incremental amount of traffic that will be added to the internet between 2015 and 2016 alone is going to be three times the size of the entire mobile internet in 2012.

Cisco predicts a 95pc a year increase in streaming content between now and 2016 – a 28-fold increase.

What the mobile web will look like in 2016

Machine-to-machine applications will contribute to the massive increase in mobile internet devices.

The study predicts that there will be more than 8bn handheld personal devices and 2bn machine to machine connections in the world by 2016.

One application of M2M includes the use of digital billboards – think Minority Report – which will be capable of changing messages for a variety of reasons.

Tablet computers are expected to grow faster in use than any other mobile device – 62-fold between 2011 and 2016 – and the amount of mobile data generated by tablets in 2016 will be 1 exabyte per month.

Tablets and smartphones will drive 90pc of global mobile data traffic in 2016 while M2M traffic will represent 5pc of global data traffic. The remaining 5pc will consist of residential broadband gateways.

Cisco predicts that 71pc of all smartphones and tablets in 2016 will be capable of connecting to IPv6.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years