The average smartphone used in the US currently consumes an average of 8.6GB of mobile data per month but 5G and video streaming will balloon that figure to 50GB by 2024, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. That would represent an approximate increase of 481-percent over the next five years with the total consumption for the North America region expected to jump from 3.2 exabytes (EB) to around 19EB per month. Both video and the steady advance of 5G mobile networking technologies are predicted to be a primary driver for that growth. Next-generation 5G connections, now beginning to slowly roll out, will account for around a quarter of all mobile data traffic in 2024, Ericsson says. That traffic is expected to hit 136EB per month globally, with Video being credited for roughly 74-percent of all mobile data consumption. The estimates show a predicted growth of around 400-percent over the next five years globally.
Although the US is expected to lead in individual use, the biggest increases will be seen in the Middle East and Africa region followed by South East Asia and Oceania regions. The former region is predicted to grow by nine-times and approach 17EB of mobile data usage per month in 2024. South East Asia and Oceania are expected to see around 700-percent growth over that same timeframe and use approximately 16EB per month by 2024. North East Asia will hold its place as the top overall region for smartphone data usage globally with 39EB used per month in that same year, up from 11EB per month that’s been used on average in 2018. Conversely, Western Europe will fall in just behind the US in second place in terms of per smartphone data use, with an average of 32GB per month used.
Background: The rate of data consumption in the US is currently up by around 3GB per month per smartphone from a previous Ericsson report just a little over a year ago. The saturation of mobile data subscriptions has, on the other hand, already surpassed the number of available subscribers in nearly every region. That indicates that although new subscriber counts are low, many are using more than one gadget on a mobile connection. Historically, data usage has been linked primarily to increases in the size or amount of content that users are consuming. This new trend is driven by and is expected to continue being fueled by the ongoing explosion of IoT gadgets and implementations. Ericsson predicts that market to grow from around one billion IoT connections in 2018 to more than four billion globally in 2024.
Impact: Driving that growth at least in part is the fact that 5G standards for those types of devices specifically are expected to be in place in 2019. 5G networking is vastly superior to previous mobile connection technologies in terms of both speed and bandwidth, with few limitations that are expected to be solved via fixed wireless and small cell installations. That means that those networks will be denser in areas where industry IoT and other enterprise-based, city, or educational ecosystems can take full advantage of the benefits.