The proliferation of mobile devices and widespread mobile video usage will push annual global mobile data traffic to 3.6 exabytes per month by 2014, said Cisco. According to the networking vendor this equates to 39-fold growth, or a compound annual growth rate of 108%.
Mobile data traffic currently stands at approximately 90 petabytes per month, up 160% on this time last year.
Cisco claimed that mobile video in particular wiould represent 66% of all mobile data traffic by 2014 as up to 5 billion personal devices connect to mobile networks.
The average mobile data connection was found to be generating 1.3 gigabytes of traffic per month but this will rise to 7 gigabytes, said Cisco's researchers.
This means operators may be forced to re-evaluate the terms and conditions of their services to account for the high levels of traffic; in late-2009 Orange attracted negative press when it said it would cap iPhone customers' 'unlimited' mobile Internet at 750 megabytes per month.
"Mobile data is growing faster than expected five years ago," said Cisco senior director of service provider marketingm, Doug Webster. "Rapid consumer adoption of smart phones, netbooks, e-readers and web-ready video cameras as well as machine-to-machine apps ... is continuing to place unprecedented demands on mobile networks."
Last week Vodafone said it made quarterly data revenues of over £1bn for the first time ever as smartphone uptake in Europe soared.