[ft] Data traffic has exceeded the volume of voice calls across the world’s wireless networks for the first time, highlighting the challenge facing mobile phone operators as they struggle to adapt to surging demand for mobile internet services.
The crossover occurred in December when 140,000 terabytes of data content, such as e-mails, music and video, was handled by mobile carriers, surpassing voice traffic, according to measurements by Ericsson, the world’s largest network equipment vendor.
“This is a significant milestone with some 400m mobile broadband subscriptions now generating more data traffic than the voice traffic from the total 4.6bn mobile subscriptions around the world,” said Hans Vestberg, Ericsson chief executive.
Ericsson said global data traffic nearly tripled in each of the past two years and forecast that it would double annually during the next five years as more people sought mobile internet access via laptop computers and smartphones.
Ericsson highlighted social networking websites, such as Facebook, as one of the biggest sources of mobile data.
Data traffic outstrips mobile voice calls