Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has warned that it expects to see a 10,000 per cent increase in the amount of mobile data being used by smartphones by 2015.
The rise will see annual levels of mobile data traffic reach 23 exabytes, meaning that operators will have to overhaul and update their networks to cope.
NSN chief executive Rajeev Suri said that networks could come to a "painful, grinding halt" if network operators fail to meet the challenges ahead.
"Traffic on smart devices is continuing to explode, and the industry cannot afford to just keep piling capacity on capacity at the same costs," he said.
"It is a non-starter and means we risk creating a generation of users who will be frustrated by slow networks."
NSN is pushing several advances on its networks which it believes will help operators meet this growth in traffic, including reducing signalling.
"We run our signalling through the 3GPP paging channel so that we are five times more effective than 'always on' signalling," he explained.
"This reduces signalling loads on the network by a factor of three, and improves the end-user experience, reduces cost and improves battery life too."
Telefónica, one of NSN's operator partners, is giving a live demonstration at Mobile World Congress of NSN's LTE mobile broadband network that the company believes will help meet the rapid growth in traffic.
NSN also said that it will demonstrate 3.5G High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) mobile broadband technology which it claims can offer speeds of 112Mbit/s.
Both LTE and HSPA are key growth technologies being paraded at the show in Barcelona. Huawei gave a demonstration yesterday of LTE speeds reaching 600Mbit/s, while Ericsson has promised to show off HSPA hitting 84Mbit/s.
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