As smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous, wireless carriers have no choice but to continue increasing their data capacity. Unfortunately, within the next few years, it might not be enough. Reuters shares a report from Cisco showing that mobile data usage in the U.S. will grow eight-fold by 2018 as more Americans convert to smart devices. In fact, Americans will use more data on their smartphones in 2018 than they did on their laptops in 2013.
“It’s more people, more connections, faster speeds on the networks and then more rich content, which in this case is video, video, video,” Cisco VP Robert Popper told Reuters.
The exponential growth of smartphones, tablets and the incoming onslaught of the Internet of Things has been a long time coming, but Cisco is still concerned that U.S. networks might cave under the pressure of nearly 2.7 exabytes every month in 2018. If the carriers can’t keep up, customers might be the ones to suffer with ballooning overage fees. Mary Brown, Cisco’s director of government affairs, believes that if the United States doesn’t start adding spectrum in the near future, congestion will become commonplace on our networks. Technological improvements alone won’t be able to keep up with the demand for data.