Android Central

According to research and predictions by Cisco, the average North American smartphone user could consume 6GB of data per month by 2017. The annual report, which has been released six times now, shows smartphone data usage increasing 13-fold worldwide in the next four years. The average North American user currently consumes 752MB per month as of 2012, and the worldwide average is just 200MB. In just four short years those numbers are expected to hit 6GB and 2GB, respectively. These numbers are even slightly more conservative than previous years and estimates from other entities.

The Asia-Pacific region numbers are just as startling, where Cisco predicts usage will increase from 136MB to 1.75GB and the region will account for as much as 47.1-percent of all data consumed worldwide. The report also explains that in 2012 just 1-percent of connections in the world were 4G, but those connections drove 14-percent of mobile data traffic. By 2017, that is predicted to rise to 10-percent of connections and 45-percent of data traffic.

It's no secret that the introduction of new, faster devices and plentiful LTE connectivity will fuel quick increases in mobile data consumption. The unknown at this point is whether or not network operators will be able to continue to offer these connections at a reasonable cost going forward. Let's hope that they can keep up with the times as our world continues to move towards mobile devices.

Source: FierceWireless


Reader comments

Average North American user could consume 6GB of mobile data per month by 2017


And by then I am sure the caps will remain low so the carriers can try and make money on overages. Hopefully Google mobile comes and brings back unlimited data with a solid network.

Damn i might have a problem, I average around 30 gb a month combined on my nexus 7 and nexus 4. Although that's mostly on wifi. I wonder how much it will be in 2017.

I watched the Rangers game last night while at my daughter's karate class, that alone consumed a whopping 7 some odd gigs of data.

I average about the same and that's from using my phone as my primary ISP at home via the Mobile Hotspot.

I can see if you use 10 gb a month but if you consume like 11 +, you are just a data hog who deserves to be throttled. Way to ruin it for everyone else

Wow. I was gonna spaz on the person who said 11+ gb is a data hog but at 450gb you crossed my limit!

Without broadband at home I could see reaching 450. And for us Sprint customers if u say unlimited you better mean it. I dont remeber anything about "well its unlimited, but we expect you to use/pay for other internet connections at home. ."

To some, a connection is a connection. I hate that I pay $~60 for comcast and also two unlimited data plans on sprint.

450GB is a lot no matter how you look at it. Comcast/Xfinity use to cap you at 250GB a month but they are currently not allowed to enforce that cap. Most people I know figure why have a home computer or wifi since their mobile does pretty much everything they need. That's why by 2017 average consumer data usage will triple. Desktops and Laptops are being replaced by Tablet's and Smartphones. Unless you're a power user you have no need for them anymore.

I average monthly 100-150GB from my ISP and 10GB from good ole VZW!

I pay $80 a month for Unlimited data on Sprint and use 100~120 GB of data a month on Sprint. I pay Comcast $40 a month for 50Mbps down and 10Mbps up (I usually get around 60Mbps down and 12Mbps up) and I use somewhere around 20TB of data on Comcast every month.

You've got to be kidding. 11 gb is nothing if you watch Netflix and download music. In fact, people who don't watch tv and only stream could go through 20 gb in 2 weeks. We can't help it that you've been led to believe that your 5 gb data plan is so huge.

I use 15-20 gb a month Cus where I live there Is no other option except for satellite. And I use Xbox Live a lot and 4g is perfect on Verizon. It's just a hair too laggy on satellite

I'm on wifi 90% of the time. I've got 6 phones on my shared plan and we don't even come close to using 4 gigs. Hopefully in a few more years wifi will be available everywhere and data caps wont be an issue.

Reading posts of people using that much data makes me feel like I'm not using my phone right... or I'm missing out on some awesome things that I didn't know existed.

makes me lol. I live in Vegas, and wimax was great until Boost Mobile and Virgin were given access to it. It is not worth it to tether unless I have LTE, and I have been warned before from Sprint that if I keep it up, they will kick me off, it isn't really unlimited you gotta read the TOS

Not taken into account in this post is the fact LTE is less expensive to acquire, deploy & operate than prior technologies, when standardized to coverage area. Furthermore, that switch bandwidth cost continues to fall as bandwidth utilization continues to increase.

Of course they are ABLE to continue to offer at a reasonable cost. Way to support the carriers Andrew. Whether or not the carriers WANT to is another question. They even admitted recently that bandwidth caps were not instituted because of capacity issues or excessive cost of running their network. People really DON'T seem to understand (I'm referencing the majority of Americans that are either ignorant of or believe everything they hear) that once the fixed cost is spent (Has been for some time on 3G networks), everything else is pure profit! The carriers are raping customers by trying to find new "innovative" ways to add to the bottom line.

I average about 6 gigs right now. I stream Google Music in my car, download my podcasts and ROMS over Verizon LTE. These three actions are 85% of my data use every month.

I'm grandfathered into unlimited so I don't go crazy waiting for wifi, and when you pay $100 a month for your phone you shouldn't have to.

Since I can use WiFi almost all the time, my own usage is down around 300MB per month for cellular data. When I go out I stick to WiFi in most places as well. I have no need for watching movies on my phone, and when I want to watch a video, even if it is on my phone, it is in a place where I have WiFi.

I can appreciate that those who live in a place without decent cable modem service will use more data, but it seems like some people are REALLY going overboard when it comes to bandwidth usage.

And I could spend a million dollars a month except that, you know, it's kind of expensive. With tiered data plans, we are going to see a new class system - those who can afford data, and the unwashed masses.

I dunno, the way things are now in North America by 2017 we are likely to have 100GB wireless speeds with 2GB max caps and only if we have a 5 year contract and it will cost us $1000.......just saying unless something changes, wireless will get miserable at the expense of the customers. Just kidding of course.....maybe T-Mobile's idea of dropping subsidized phones and going to no caps will pan out and get other carrier's to embrace their customers. There seems to be a struggle between the government (speaking US here) wanting nationwide broadband everywhere (with wireless being a major part of that plan) and the carriers trying to get rich off screwing their customers.

I got my Nexus 4 activated on Sunday the 3rd. I have since used a whopping 18 megabytes of data. Yes, that's right. 18 _megabytes_. Lol

I have a Shared 4gb plan and we never break a gig. I do see the carriers going to unsubsidized phones at the expense of the manufacturer base. That will weed out a lot of the lesser phones and usher in a class of higher priced phones from others. Similar to Apple and the other PC manufacturers with laptop computers. But it will definitely bring the prices down overall.

Google has shown that you can offer a good device at a good price and still not lose money on the manufacturing side, although margins will be compressed over time. I can see Samsung doing this just to hurt competition and drive its market share; if the carriers go too a unsubsidized model of course.

I'm on the 4GB plan on Verizon and even tho I have WiFi at home it's still not enough. I like to use TuneIn Radio and YouTube while I'm at work but I can't afford to pay for more data. It's just ridiculous. Unfortunately my desk at work gets little to no signal from any of the other companies except maybe AT&T and they're no better..

"According to research and predictions by Cisco..." lol @ that!!

And in other news, Microsoft predicts that Windows 11 will be the end of all competitors.

Let's be realistic about "predictions" when the "prediction" benefits the researcher. Propoganda?

Good thing i have Sprint. When (or if really) they get LTE anyway. Until then you'd be hard pressed to get to 1GB over their 3G.

I think some of us are worrying a little too much. Soon both T-mobile and Sprint will have LTE and by 2017 they should have their networks built out pretty well. That makes 4 national carries with high speed data competing with each other. I don't think true unlimited data is coming back, but I do believe that we'll be able to buy more data at cheaper prices.

I've also noticed that some current "unlimited" data plans have a full speed data cap that drops to 3G or 2G data after the cap is exceeded.

In any case, we all lived fine before smartphones existed at all--so I think this is a non-issue.

I average 5.5 GB/month (this is 3G, roaming 3G & 4G on Sprint). I support app developers, so I'm constantly downloading test builds as well as receiving email from 10 different email accounts, & the occasional laptop/tablet tether.

Before we moved I averaged about 200mb a month on 4 lines, thanks to wifi.
Now, I live deep in the country with no Internet access other than satellite (no thanks) and use 6gigs myself easy.
Currently on a 6gb 'shared' plan so I get billed at minimum $15 extra each month in overages which puts my bill close to $300 a month.
It's easy to use a lot of data on your phone if that's the only option you've got to stay connected.

This is an extremely misleading headline.

"Could" use 6GB. I guess "could" use 60 GB or 0.06 GB too.

Nothing but link bait.

"Could" is used because these are predictions and estimates. An even more misleading headline would be "Average North American user will consume 6GB of mobile data per month by 2017" because we just don't know.

Seems to me with the newer phones coming without external memory and consumers being pushed to use more and more of cloud based storage, looks like the carriers will be making A LOT more on overages. I don't like the look of where this is going....

I use about 1 TB of data each 3 months. And that's on Xfinity 105 Blast! Residential. I still don't know how I'm not kicked out yet. Most of it though is from YouTube.

personally through my own unlimited data plan through verizon i use roughly 900gb-1tb of data. i try breaking it each month lol :) i feel bad for all y'all

LOL I consume around 120GB of data a month. That's why I pay full retail on my phone with Verizon. They can can keep those share everything plans.

It's sickening, the price these carriers are charging for such a low amount of data. My grandma could go through 5 gb of data a month. When you stream music/movies and play games, even 15 gb is nothing. Now before you go jumping on people calling them data hogs, how many hours of TV do you average a month? The fact is the world is going mobile. These ISPs have outdated technology, but are still charging us as if we were getting 100 mbps unlimited data plans.