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Mobile-connected devices to reach 10B by 2016: study

More than 10.3 billion mobile-connected devices will be available by 2016, which equates to more than one device per worldwide consumer, according to a new report from Cisco.

According to the report, mobile-connected devices include mobile phones, tablets, ereaders and laptops. The expected mobile growth will stem from three increasing factors ? content, new devices and more sophisticated features.

?It is an enormous opportunity for marketers to increasingly test mobile marketing possibilities, ranging from SMS to full-blown cross-channel campaigns and activities where mobile plays a central role,? said Kevin Petschow, spokesman for Cisco, San Jose, CA.

Mobile mania
Cisco?s ?Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2011 to 2016? also found some interesting trends for particular mobile segments.

Mobile data traffic overall is expected to increase a whopping 18-fold by 2016, showing how consumers are consistently and steadily using their mobile devices more.

In particular, mobile video will be a hit with users.

By 2016, mobile video will make up 71 percent of mobile data traffic, meaning that it will double every year until 2016.

In 2011, mobile video accounted for 52 percent of overall mobile data traffic.

Mobile gaming is also on the rise according to the study with a projected 17-fold increase by 2016, as consumers shift to playing mobile games on their devices versus consoles.

Additionally, connection speeds will need to keep pace as consumers use mobile more. In 2011, mobile network connection speeds doubled and are expected to increase an additional nine-fold by 2016.

The Middle East and Africa will account for substantial mobile data traffic growth. The area will generate a 104 percent compound annual growth rate every year until 2016, per the research.

Tablets will also be a device to watch. The mobile data traffic from tablets until 2016 will quadruple the total mobile data traffic from 2010.

More on mobile
The Cisco study shows that wireless connections, whether it is through a mobile device or a laptop, are rapidly gaining traction for consumers.

As users interact with online content while on the go, they are demanding more data and accumulating more traffic.

When it comes to data, the study shows that consumers with unlimited phone plans are gobbling it up. Consumers with unlimited data average twice as much consumption as tiered-data users.

Additionally, users with a tiered-data plan are squeezing their plan for as much as possible. Tiered-data users increased 169 percent year-over-year, and data from unlimited plans increased 83 percent.

Sixty percent of mobile users by 2016 will use more than one gigabyte of mobile data traffic per month. To compare, only 0.5 percent of mobile users in 2011 used one gigabyte.

For marketers, the data is proof that mobile is a growing channel to target a broad group of consumers.

Additionally, the research proves that carriers and manufacturers need to up their game with increased coverage and Wi-Fi for consumers so that brands have the opportunity to interact with users via mobile marketing.

?Mobile Internet-connected devices increase an individual?s contact time with the network, and it is likely that this increased contact time will lead to an increase in overall minutes of use per user,? Mr. Petschow said.

?However, not all of the increase in mobile data traffic can be attributed to traffic migration to the mobile network from the fixed network,? he said.

?Many uniquely mobile apps continue to emerge, such as location-based services, mobile-only games and mobile commerce apps.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York