Mobile Data Consumption to Grow 59% in 2015

Mobile data traffic will grow 59 percent in 2015 and 53 percent in 2016, Gartner predicts, driven primarily by consumption of video.

“Mobile video is generating 50 percent of all mobile data,” says Jessica Ekholm, Gartner research director. “We expect video streaming to account for over 60 percent of mobile data traffic in 2018.”

Video-calling services will contribute to overall demand, as well. In terms of traffic, five minutes of 3G FaceTime video calling uses up to 15 megabytes of data, a small amount. But the number of users arguably is large and growing.

Though mobile video is the primary usage driver, mobile music streaming can easily generate hundreds of megabytes of data as well.

Usage is increasing for several reasons. Faster mobile networks lead to higher data consumption.

More affordable smartphones also mean more people are using smartphones, which also increases data consumption.

Despite the activation of new 4G networks, 3G networks will continue to fuel worldwide data growth during the next five years, Gartner predicts. “We expect 3G connections to grow by 45.7 percent globally in 2015,” Gartner says.

“We predict that, in 2018, half of North American mobile connections will use 4G networks, but in the Middle East and Africa 4G users will amount to only 3.5 percent of the region's total,” says Ekholm.

By 2018, 4G users will generate 46 percent of all mobile data traffic, with each 4G smartphone consuming 5.5GB of data per month, three times more than a 3G smartphone, Gartner says.
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