Mobile data consumption is projected to increase, by 2016, ten times more than its current usage rate, according to research conducted by business intelligence firm, Informa Telecoms and Media.
The company predicted, in its Mobile Content and Applications Forecasts report, that the global mobile data traffic will grow from 3.89 trillion megabytes in 2011 to 39.75 trillion megabytes in 2016, amounting in a tenfold increase.
By contrast, global mobile data revenues will grow from $US325.8 billion in 2011 to $US627.5 billion in 2016, amounting to a two-fold increase.
However, according to the report, although the revenue pie will grow, the slice kept by mobile operators will shrink.
Excluding data and SMS/MMS, the percentage for operators of what users pay for all other data services will drop from 56 per cent in 2011 to 41 per cent in 2016.
The report also showed that mobile phone users will, on average, consume 6.5 times as much video, over eight times as much music and social media, and nearly 10 times as much games as in 2011.
It forecasts a big expansion in traffic for most mobile data services over the next five years -- largely motivated by the spread of smartphones and a 23 per cent growth in the number of mobile users.
The report indicated that by 2016, most mobile users will browse six times as many Web pages and downloading 14 times as many megabytes of applications on their handset as compared to 2011.
"In order of importance, the top three data guzzlers on mobile phones over the next five years will be applications, video streaming and Web browsing," Informa Telecoms & Media senior analyst, Guillermo Escofet, said.
It also showed that SMS and MMS messaging traffic will continue to grow, however, at a much slower pace than most other mobile data services. Mobile users sent an average of 118 SMSes and two MMSes a month in 2011, versus the 146 SMSes and four MMSes they will be sending in 2016.
The company said that the usage of Internet-derived messaging services, namely instant messaging and email, will see higher growth. In comparison to the global monthly average of 31 mobile instant messages sent in 2011, users will send 118 in 2016.
"The top revenue earners in 2016 will be Web browsing first, followed by P2P SMS and applications. Video streaming will represent less than one per cent of mobile data revenue in 2016, despite hogging a third of handset traffic," Escofet added.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.