U.S. carriers might want to take another look at their data plans.
While monthly data traffic per smartphone is expected to increase dramatically across the board, North American users are expected to hit the highest figure – and get there fast.
According to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report, smartphone owners in North America are expected to increase their average data usage from less than 5 GB per month in 2015 to 22 GB per month within the next five years. That figure is 1.2 times the 18 GB per month projected for Western Europe by 2021 and three times the 7 GB usage expected for the Asia Pacific by that time.
Overall, smartphone traffic is expected to increase 12 fold by 2021, with around 90 percent of mobile data traffic coming from smartphones in five years’ time. Particular growth in mobile data traffic is expected to come from Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa (a 13-fold increase), the Asia Pacific region (11-fold increase) and Western Europe (10-fold increase).
Ericsson said much of this growth will be driven by video, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 55 percent over the next five years and account for nearly 70 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2021.
But traffic growth won’t necessarily make mobile the connectivity king.
The report forecasts the Internet of Things (IoT) will surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected device by 2018. By 2021, nearly 16 billion of the 28 billion total connected devices will be IoT devices, Ericsson said. Just 8.6 billion will be mobile phones, the report said.