Networking giant Cisco has predicted that Australians will have 2.4 mobile devices each and a five-fold increased mobile speed connection by 2015.
According to the company's Global Mobile Data Forecast for 2010 to 2015, released yesterday, the popularity of new smartphones, laptops, tablets and associated mobile video consumption will spread globally in the next five years, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of traffic of 92 per cent.
Worldwide, this means mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold during this time, reaching some 6.3 exabytes per month, an amount equivalent to 19 billion DVDs. In Australia, Cisco expects there will be a higher than the globally average rate of growth, predicting mobile traffic will increase 32-fold.
Cisco Australia and New Zealand chief technology officer Kevin Bloch said the Australian mobile traffic growth was the result of a combination of factors. He said new technologies, such as higher mobile broadband speed and more powerful smartphone platforms were enabling consumers to do much more than calls easily and at lower prices.
"It's a combination of things; One the technology, two the ease of use — because if it's so complicated but you've got the technology people won't use it — and I think the costs will come down too," he said. "The prices are continuing to drop. If it's not dropping you get twice the performance for the same price".
By 2015, Australia's mobile data traffic will reach 148,705 Terabytes per month, the equivalent of 410 million text messages each second, with a compound annual growth rate of 101 per cent. Last year, Australians exchanged mobile data at a rate of 4,587 Terabytes per month, 2.6 times higher than in 2009.
Bloch said the forecast highlighted that the use of mobile devices was changing dramatically. He said the way in which mobile has been used was much more diverse than it was a decade ago, with traffic becoming dominated by video.
Bloch said that Cisco hoped that the information he is providing will provide an early warning for telecommunication companies, businesses and governments of what is around the corner.
"There's an early warning system here first of all. Second, it enables and guides telcos in terms of what to be ready for and where the investment is. And thirdly it kind of says it's not gonna mean that you need to build 26 times your network," he said. "There are vendors like Cisco who are building new technology and putting it into the market: that's enabling you to handle double the traffic for the same sort of price that you would have paid a couple of years ago".
By 2015, Cisco predicted that some 56 million mobile devices will be connected in Australia, reaching a rate of approximately 2.4 per capita. The number of mobile-connected tablets will grow 76-fold between 2010 and 2015, but laptops will still be the second-most common device after mobile phones.
The mobile proliferation will result in faster speed connections, according to Cisco, as confirmed by data from the last two years. The company's forecast stated that while in 2009, the Australian average handset connection speed was 413kbps, it more than doubled in 2010, reaching 953 kbps. Following this trend, 2015 will see average handset connection speed growing five-fold to achieve 4649 kbps; while smartphone connection speeds will be about 4842 kbps.
Globally, smartphones, laptops, and other portable devices will drive more than 87 per cent of global mobile traffic by 2015.