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Mobile Data Traffic to Increase by 18-folds Says Cisco

If mobile data traffic continues to rise at its current pace, the day is not too far when carriers will be forced to withdraw unlimited data plans for smartphones and tablets, claims a new Cisco study.

According to findings, data usage on mobile devices has undergone a tremendous growth for the last 4 consecutive years and specifically during 2011 where the data usage has more than doubled as compared to that in 2010.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index report, this growth in mobile data usage has been primarily fuelled by the rising trend of using mobile devices for web surfing, accessing emails, a higher dependence on GPS/location services for navigation, video calling and so on.

Cisco, in its report, said that by 2016, mobile data traffic throughout the world will be somewhere around 130 Exabytes per year - meaning an 18 times increase from where the figure stands today.

"The numbers today show that for many operators, one of the key drivers to get mobile data usage into the market, the 'all you can eat' tariff, is going to become an anachronism," Gabriel Solomon, head of public policy for the GSM Association (GSMA) stated, reports ZDNet.

"I don't think it's a sustainable pricing strategy, and we'll see more and more operators go to a tiered or value-based pricing," he added.