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Skyrocket? Maybe the word for mobile data growth is exa-rocket

Cisco forecast has mobile data in 2016 at 18 times current levels

Mobile data traffic from smartphones and tablets over the Internet is skyrocketing, and Cisco has come up with a forecast that is downright staggering.

Mobile data globally is expected to grow 18-fold by 2016, Cisco said in the forecast update to its Visual Networking Index . Smartphone traffic alone will grow to 50 times more than it is today.

By 2016, there will be more mobile Internet devices (10 billion) than the number of people on Earth, estimated at 7.3 billion. The sharp increase in mobile data is primarily because of the increase expected in new devices, Cisco said.

Cisco said the amount of mobile data traffic was about 0.6 EB (exabytes) per month in 2011, but the figure will reach 10.8 EB per month in 2016. That's an increase of 78% a year, Cisco said.

By 2016, the annual amount of mobile data will be 130 EB, equal to 33 billion DVDs, or 4.3 quadrillion music files or 813 quadrillion text messages, Cisco said. (An exabyte equals one quintillion bytes.)

If that's not enough, here's one statistic that might stick with you: There will be so much more mobile data traffic added between 2015 and 2016 that the amount added for that year alone will be three times the estimated size of the entire mobile Internet in 2012.

Cisco sells a broad portfolio of network routing equipment used to move mobile data, and conducts an annual forecast of mobile data growth.

According to Cisco, mobile data growth is expect to jump 78% annually through 2016. (Image: Courtesy of Cisco)

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected] .

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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