How Much Will Tablets Drive Mobile Bandwidth Consumption?

Goldman Sachs figures tablet data consumption is increasing by 30 percent per year and by 2020 will account for 17 percent of all mobile data demand.

“We expect global tablet sales to grow over 300 percent through 2012,” Goldman’s analysts say. “Our forecast implies a 42 percent compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2020 in network-activated tablet subscribers (tablets that actually subscribe to a wireless data plan) with monthly data usage assumed to grow at the rate of 30 percent per year from 1.5 GBytes month to over 20 GBytes per month in 2020,” Goldman analysts say.

That implies some future adjustment of mobile broadband plans, which at present tend to cap consumption at 4Gbytes to 10 Gbytes a month, with an average of about 5 Gbytes. Though it seems unlikely that smart phone consumption will reach those levels, tablet users using mobile broadband connections might easily exceed 5 Gbytes a month, if the Goldman estimates are correct.
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