Is the world ready for an explosion in wireless data? (Infographic)

23 Jun 2016

Smartphone data is set to increase 50pc a year until 2021 and by 2018 internet of things data traffic will surpass that of mobile phones

It is almost a decade since the iPhone was launched, but it appears the global telecoms industry has failed to plan for the spike in smartphone data, which is set to rise at a rate of 50pc-a-year up to 2021.

In Ireland, for example, the telecoms regulator ComReg has admitted that it had failed to foresee just how dramatic the rise of smartphone-related data traffic would be and it this week said Ireland would need to release more and more spectrum to meet a 200pc increase in wireless broadband use anticipated by 2018.

And remember, we are only at fourth generation (4G) and the dawn of the internet of things (IoT) age, where everything from smart devices, M2M sensors and more will be clamouring for space and frequency.

Future Human

New networks are emerging all the time that use low-power as a way to navigate the busy airwaves. Both 5G and fast-emerging wireless platforms like Sigfox will require low energy and low latency to ensure the IoT world and our smart devices hum all around, doing our work for us.

According to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report, global smartphone data traffic will grow at an average rate of 50pc per year until 2021.

Ericsson has also predicted that IoT devices will surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018.

Between 2015 and 2021, IoT is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23pc, making up close to 16bn of the total forecast 28bn connected devices by 2021.

This Statista chart below indicates just how much data traffic will increase in the next five years per smartphone:Infographic: Smartphone Data Traffic on the Rise | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

Cell tower and traffic image via Shutterstock

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