Cisco powers the pipes that power your Internet. They also put out the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016 which says that mobile video is taking up a whole lot of space in those pipes. Interesting that this report came out the same day that the Google purchase of Motorola Mobility was approved, no?
According to the new report, mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent for the first time in 2011. Mobile video traffic was 52 percent of traffic by the end of 2011.
How much video was that? Well, global mobile data traffic in 2011 was 597 petabytes per month, so roughly 300 petabytes a month, so 3.6 exabytes total for the year. They also believe that mobile video will continue to grow and comprise 71 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2016.
Mobile video will increase 25-fold between 2011 and 2016, accounting for over 70 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.
But things are only going to grow because Cisco predicts that tablets on the wireless networks will be as much bandwidth alone in 2016 as all wireless traffic this year, about 1.1 exabytes per month (they're predicting 1.3Eb/mnth for 2012).
The next 5 years are projected to provide unabated mobile video adoption despite uncertain macroeconomic conditions in many parts of the world. Backhaul capacity must increase so mobile broadband, data access, and video services can effectively support consumer usage trends and keep mobile infrastructure costs in check.
Because mobile video content has much higher bit rates than other mobile content types, mobile video will generate much of the mobile traffic growth through 2016. Mobile video will grow at a CAGR of 90 percent between 2011 and 2016, the highest growth rate of any mobile application category that we forecast. Of the 10.8 exabytes per month crossing the mobile network by 2016, 7.6 exabytes will be due to video (Figure 6).
They believe that mobile video and TV will become 'must have' technologies by the end of their reporting period (2016).