Mobile data usage doubled over the past year

In what may come as no surprise, it's reported that mobile data usage has doubled from what it was around this time last year. Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson reported that mobile data traffic doubled between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012. Data usage is also expected to increase twelve-fold between 2012 and 2018.

Furthermore, Ericsson reported that approximately 40% of all mobile phones sold in Q3 2012 were smartphones. Plus, the total number of mobile subscriptions is expected to reach 6.6 billion by the end of this year and is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2018. LTE subscriptions are also on the rise as carriers focus more on providing the faster service to its customers. An additional 13 million LTE subscriptions were created during Q3 2012, and total LTE subscriptions are predicted to reach 55 million by the end of this year, and 1.6 billion by 2018.

So what kind of activities are contributing to the massive growth in mobile data usage? Web browsing and video streaming accounted for around 35% of all smartphone data usage. And about half of all video streaming on a smartphone takes place outside the home on a mobile network, rather than on a WiFi connection in the home or at a coffee shop.

Granted, Ericcson is a major seller of mobile equipment, so they obviously benefit from such growth, which means they could be fluffing the numbers, but the trends seem to be accurate. However, with carriers capping mobile broadband usage, could we eventually see a plateau occur? While it's expected that data usage is still on the rise, the capping of data by carriers could put in end the exponential growth of data traffic.

[via GigaOM]