Smartphone traffic will create over 17 exabytes of data by the year 2020, marking an eightfold increase on current levels, according to Ericsson. An exabyte is a thousand million gigabytes.
Ericsson made the estimate in its latest Mobility Report, claiming that a spike in mobile subscriptions will spearhead the data explosion.
The report estimated that 4G LTE subscriptions will grow from 7.1 billion to 9.5 billion by 2020. The figure means that 90 percent of the world's population aged six and older will have a mobile device by 2020.
"Most mobile broadband devices are, and will continue to be, smartphones. Many consumers in developing markets first experience the internet on smartphones usually because they have only limited access to fixed broadband," read the report.
Tablets were listed as another key growth area, jumping from 300 million to 650 million by 2020, according to Ericsson.
The average user will create 3.5GB of data per month, representing an increase of more than 300 percent on the current 900MB figure.
The report said that data use will continue to grow exponentially from 2020 as new 5G technologies begin to be deployed.
"5G is expected to be commercially deployed in 2020. 5G will combine evolved versions of existing radio access, cloud and core with new complementary technologies, enhancing performance and supporting thousands of new use cases," read the report.
Ericsson is one of many firms to predict a data spike resulting from 5G in the coming years. The European Commission urged technology firms in February to begin preparing for 5G.
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