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Exabyte Era Driven by Mobile Device Data

In 2014, the volume of mobile device data sent and received every month by users around the world will exceed -- by a significant amount -- the total data traffic for all of 2008, according to the latest market study from ABI Research.

"When people think of mobile data they think of BlackBerry and iPhone handsets," says senior analyst Jeff Orr. "But the bulk of today's traffic is generated by laptops with PC Card and USB modems."

While add-on cellular modems represented two-thirds of traffic in 2008, computers with embedded 3G or 4G modems will lead in 2014 -- with more than 50 percent of the world's mobile data traffic.

Key findings from the ABI study include:

- Global mobile data traffic surpassed 1.3 Exabytes transferred during 2008. By 2014, an average of 1.6 Exabytes will be sent and received monthly.

- Nearly 74 percent of the world's mobile data traffic will be from Web and Internet access by 2014.

By the same time, 26 percent will come from audio and video streaming. Peer-to-peer file sharing and VoIP contribution to overall mobile data traffic will be less than 1 percent.

- Video streaming will experience the fastest growth of any IP traffic type at a CAGR of 62 percent between 2008 and 2014.

- Western Europe accounted for nearly 31 percent of mobile data traffic in 2008, but the region will yield to Asia-Pacific, which will account for over 28 percent, by 2014.

"The launch of 4G services promises even more data capability -- full multimedia on a greater number of devices," notes Orr.

But it's a more pragmatic approach than 3G: data-centric devices will be adopted first, rather than a large number of phones. As network coverage and service plans satisfy market expectations, a variety of specialized consumer electronics devices with the ability to connect anywhere will emerge.

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