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Cisco VNI Global Mobile forecast sees a future of smartphones, air cards

There could be more than 5 billion personal devices connecting to mobile networks, accounting for two-thirds of mobile data traffic, by 2014, according to Cisco's "VNI Global Mobile Data Forecast." Cisco's forecast attributes this surge to the proliferation of mobile-ready devices and widespread mobile video content consumption.

Based on its analysis, the survey predicts that global mobile data traffic will reach 3.6 exabytes (EB) per month by 2014 — a 39-fold increase. That's a compound annual growth rate of 108 percent, or 40EB. Mobile video is expected to represent 66 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2014.

Global mobile data traffic has increased by 160 percent over the past year to 90PB per month, the equivalent of 23 million DVDs, and is now growing 2.4 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic. Smartphones and laptop air cards will likely drive more than 90 percent of global mobile traffic by 2014.

"The rapid consumer adoption of smartphones, netbooks and e-readers is continuing to place unprecedented demands on mobile networks," said Doug Webster, senior director of service provider marketing at Cisco. "In spite of the economic downturn, the demand for mobile services has remained high, posing both challenges and opportunities for service providers worldwide"