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Mobile data traffic is set to grow to ten times its current volume in the next five years, Ericsson has predicted .

Global telecom technology and service provider, Ericsson has predicted in its latest Traffic and Market Data Report that the number of mobile broadband subscriptions will rise to an absurd-sounding 5 billion+ by 2016.

Though the number of such mobile broadband subscriptions was earlier expected to cross 1 billion by the end of this year, it is now being estimated that there will be about 900 million such subscriptions by the end of the year. The growth forecasts for 2016 are built on an expected year-on-year growth rate of 60%.

Mobile data traffic is likely to double this year. This is mainly due to the proliferation and availability of new devices such as smartphones and tablets. Smartphone traffic alone is expected to triple this year.

According to the report, users living on less than 1% of the earth’s land area (urban regions with over 1,000 people per square kilometer), will generate around 60% of this traffic. Video consumption on mobile devices is likely to be the main driver of this growth.

Ericsson also expects that the traffic generated by these advanced smartphones will rise 12-fold, and roughly equal mobile PC generated traffic by 2016.

Predicted growth of mobile data consumption (in PetaBytes)