Cisco predicts that the biggest driver for the traffic increase will come from video traffic, which will account for roughly 64% of all mobile data traffic in 2013. In 2008, video traffic averaged around 13,000 TB per month, or roughly 39% of all mobile traffic. By 2013, video traffic will increase by more than 100 times and will average around 1.3 million TB per month, Cisco projects. (Read a story in that Cisco announces a string of WiMAX deals in Eastern Europe.)
From a device perspective, Cisco says handsets and laptops with speeds of higher than current 3G speeds will account for 80% of all mobile traffic by 2013. Cisco says the advent of smartphones and laptops with 3G aircards will lead to an explosion of mobile data traffic over the next five years, as an iPhone typically generates 30 times the mobile data traffic of a basic-feature phone, while a laptop generates 450 times the mobile data traffic as a basic-feature phone.
Cisco says the most interesting applications for current mobile 3G capabilities include mobile TV, a “light version” of video conferencing, basic video games and basic e-mail, SMS and Web browsing. More complex mobile applications, such as telemedicine, interactive gaming and mobile education systems, won't be realistically available until carriers begin launching more of their 4G network offerings next decade. By 2015, Cisco says a wide array of devices will be hooked up to mobile broadband networks, including mobile game tablets, video cameras and television sets.
A recent study by mobile browser developer Opera Software showed that data traffic sent to mobile phones jumped 463% in November 2008 as compared with November 2007, and that page views on mobile devices were up by 303% over the same period.