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Video will make up 75 percent of mobile traffic in five years

That’s up from just over half of all traffic now.

A person uses a smartphone to record a rally in Thailand. Rufus Cox / Getty
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Three quarters of all mobile traffic will be used for video in 2023, according to a new report by telecommunications equipment company Ericsson. That’s up from just over half of all traffic today.

Not only will that be a bigger share but also a bigger pie, as more people watch more video on their smartphones. Overall, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase to 110 exabytes per month in 2023, according to Ericsson, or the equivalent of 5.5 million years of streaming HD video. It’s eight times the 14 exabytes per month we used in 2017.

Ericsson Mobility Report

What does this mean for consumers? Well, obviously, we’ll need a bigger data plan.

Currently, smartphone owners around the globe use on average 2.9 gigabytes of data per month, making 2GB to 5GB data plans the most popular. But as average usage rises to 17GB by 2023, bigger or unlimited mobile data plans will be necessary.

Distribution of mobile data plans by share of users in July 2017

More mobile video traffic also means there will be an increased emphasis on mobile video for advertisers.

Social media consumption on mobile is also rising, but not as fast as video. Therefore, social media will represent a smaller share of mobile traffic in 2023 — eight percent — than its current 12 percent of mobile traffic.

This article originally appeared on

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