Enter Details

Comment on stories, receive email newsletters & alerts.

This is your permanent identity for Business Insider Australia
Your email must be valid for account activation
Minimum of 8 standard keyboard characters


Email newsletters but will contain a brief summary of our top stories and news alerts.

Forgotten Password

Enter Details

Back to log in

Here's how we'll be using the mobile internet in 2019, and how much data we'll REALLY need

Kids on iphonesSean Gallup/Getty Images

You know that naked feeling when you leave the house and you realise you forgot your phone?

We can’t even imagine an hour with having access to the internet in our pockets, much less imagine our lives before the mobile internet existed (which wasn’t that long ago).

And we haven’t seen anything yet. The data scientists at networking company Cisco have examined how we used our mobile devices in 2014 and come up with a five-year trajectory of where this is all heading.

Some of the statistics they have uncovered are pretty mind blowing: In 2014, the world sent 30 exabytes of data across the internet, or 30 billion gigabytes.

Five years from now, in 2019, thanks to smartphones, tablets, wearables, video, and the Internet of Things, we’ll send nearly 300 exabytes over the internet. That’s 65 trillion photos, or 23 images per person, or 6 trillion YouTube clips, two per day for everyone.

In the next five years, the mobile internet will have a billion more users and billions more devices.

All those users and devices will cause internet traffic to grow 10-fold.

The fastest growing region is the Middle East and Africa.

But North Americans will be the biggest bandwidth hogs.

We'll spend more time on our mobile devices, gobbling down an average of more than 4GB per month.

In 5 years, nearly a billion more people will be on the mobile internet, especially in Asia ...

....but that's nothing compared to how many internet devices we'll be using: 11.5 billion!

Our devices will upload and download faster ...

... and watching video or doing video chats will eat up our data.

Mobile network providers will be handling a 10-fold increase in data.

Here's a complicated chart that summarizes the growth in users, data, and devices in every region.

Smartphones will rule. But machine-to-machine (M2M) devices that talk to each other as part of the Internet of Things will grow wildly, too.

Surprisingly, even in 2019, feature phones will still be plentiful and account for almost half of the devices on the mobile internet.

This is how much more data a 'smart' device (tablets, smartphones, smartwatches) use compared to a feature phone.

And because they use so much data, they create nearly all the traffic on the mobile internet.

This complicated chart shows that 2G ruled in 2014 but 4G is on the rise, and 3G will rule in five years.

Machines will also be on the regular mobile internet, but they will also increasingly use their own low-power, wide-area (LPWA) networks.

In five years, almost one-third of devices on the Internet will be machines talking to other machines, not people.

Wearables are coming! We'll own about 600 million of them in 2010 and 93% will use WiFi, not cell data.

North Americans will own the most wearable devices.

But beware using wearables to share video of yourself. You'll kill your monthly data plan in just 2 hours.

Even when connecting via WiFi instead of cellular, wearables will create a lot of internet traffic ...

... especially in North America, where wearables are expected to be most popular.

Video still eats up most of the mobile internet. Surfing the web or making voice calls over the web though apps like Skype is a close second.

Not surprisingly, apps that store data in the cloud account for most app traffic (as opposed to apps that store data on the device).

Facebook generates the most mobile data traffic on the smartphone ...

... but YouTube rules on the tablet.

About half the time, a device that can use either cell or WiFi uses WiFi.

4G devices are somewhat more likely to use WiFi instead of cell, but not by much.

Tablet users will be a lot more prone to use WiFi instead of cell in five years. Smartphone users will stay on WiFi about half the time.

WiFi will be used by more than 3x the devices on the internet than cell data.

4G, with its faster speeds, will be handling two-thirds of the mobile internet's data by 2019.

In 2014, 4G devices typically ate through 10x more data than a feature phone.

This chart shows how much more data each device typically uses compared to a feature phone.

Where is your monthly data going? This chart shows the typical data usage of each device and how that will grow in 5 years. Look at how much data tablets will be using!

Now the good news: even with all this extra traffic, our mobile networks should get a lot faster ...

... and WiFi will get faster, too.

In 2014, 20% of users ate up 80% of your network's bandwidth.

These 20% bandwidth hogs used about 4GB a month. And the top 1% of users consume an average ov more than 15GB of data per month.

Only 7% of people use over 5GB a month and about one-quarter use over 2GB a month.

Apple users gobble up more bandwidth than Android users.

The next generation of the internet, known as internet protocol version 6 (IPv6), officially launched in 2012, and it is slowly growing. In five years, most devices will be capable of using IPv6.

In five years, mobile devices will use IPv6 about half the time.

And here's a snapshot at what the mobile internet will be in five years when 70% of the world's people are using it.

Cisco offered a bunch more predictions on the mobile internet, too, available here:

Now check out some of the companies making the internet so huge ...

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn