If you think you spend a lot of time starting at your smartphone nowadays, you aint seen nothing yet. Imagine staring at it ten times as much. In its new Traffic and Market Data report, mobile phone maker Ericsson Preducts a 10-fold increase in mobile data traffic by 2016. The report says that mobile broadband subscriptions of all kinds will reach almost 5 billion in 2016, up from 900 million by the end of 2011. That’s 60 percent year-on-year growth. Total smartphone traffic is expected to triple this year alone.
These are pretty impressive numbers for a planet of 7 billion people, many of whom are too young to use a phone just yet. The reason behind all this: video consumption, which is on the upswing in great part because of the increased use of tablet devices.
By 2016 more than 30 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan and urban areas with a density of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer. That kind of density spurs mobile device use. Although the densest urban areas represent less than 1 percent of Earth’s total land area, in coming years they’ll generate around 60 percent of total mobile traffic. That explains why frantically texting New Yorkers keep walking smack into each other on the sidewalks of Manhattan. It’s only going to get worse?