Mobile data to double every year through 2014, cost carriers $50 billion

mobile-traffic-forecast-cnn-ciscoThanks to the runaway success of the iPhone and devices riding off its coattails, mobile data network usage doubled in 2010 and is projected to more than double every year through 2014, reports CNN. The main culprit for the increase is video.By 2014, streaming services like YouTube and Netflix will help Internet usage grow to more than 17 times 2010 levels, from 18 million gigabytes this year to about 312 million gigabytes by the middle of the decade.

These numbers come from a tool by Cisco that enables mobile operators to estimate potential traffic usage by subscribers for the next four years. Mobile video alone will grow from 9 million GB in 2010 to 170 million GB four years from now. Video usage will roughly double all other forms of data usage.

Somebody has to pay

While these statistics are fun to read about, they pose a looming problem for wireless carriers, which are struggling to upgrade their networks and meet demand. Their costs are in the billions. Dan Hays, a partner at PRTM says that operators are spending a collective $30 billion to $50 billion annually to keep up with demand and remain competitive. Verizon spent $17 billion in 2009 alone and AT&T laid down $19 billion for upgrades in the last two years. With each carrier launching faster 4G networks, these costs are only increasing.

The question is, will carriers foot the bill or are we in for even higher data prices? This year, AT&T eliminated its unlimited data plan and makes users pay by the gigabyte, Verizon has not yet eliminated its plans, but introduced a new minuscule 200 MB data plan for $15 a month. Most carriers offer a $30 (or so) ‘unlimited’ data plan, a somewhat deceptive name since they usually cap out at 5 gigabytes. However, 5 GB will soon become a very constraining number for many users as they consume more audio and video on their smartphones at high 4G speeds. A few weeks ago, PC Mag reported that at 21 MB per second, the supposed speed of Verizon’s new LTE 4G network, users could blow through 5 GB in 32 minutes. That’s not a lot of time. Verizon charges $10 for each gigabyte used over 5 GB.

So who will pay? Somehow, it will be us. Though we already pay about $30 per device, new plans may charge more, based on usage. Other options include pools of data shared between multiple devices (much like family voice plans) or charges for specific services like Netflix, though charging services may bring on more net neutrality debates.

Emerging Tech

This DIY kit teaches more than coding; it teaches you how to build a smartphone

Want a crash course in coding and electronics, with something to show for it at the end? The MAKERphone is a DIY mobile phone that you can build for yourself. And, yes, it actually works.

Save up to $1,000 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $1,000.

Verizon's newest deals can net you $500 off the LG V40 ThinQ

Looking for a new LG flagship? The LG V40 ThinQ is here, and it's bringing a familiar style, two more camera lenses, and upgraded specs. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the LG V40 ThinQ.

The best Pixel 3 XL cases to keep your notch in one piece

The Pixel 3 XL is Google's latest huge flagship handset. But you've paid $900 for that beast -- best make sure you protect it too. Here are some of the best Pixel 3 XL cases to keep your phone safe.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.

OnePlus charges into U.K. carrier stores, leaving online-only start in the past

OnePlus's next phone, the OnePlus 6T, will be more widely available than any OnePlus phone before it, as the company has announced major deals with retailers in the U.K. The device launches on October 30.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…

The Palm has been revived, and it wants to help you limit your smartphone usage

A reboot of the classic Palm is finally here and it's tiny. It syncs to your phone and acts as a secondary device -- with a feature to help you disconnect from technology. At $350, the Palm will be available exclusively through Verizon.

You can finally throw away your PC; Photoshop is coming to the iPad

A full version of Photoshop is coming to the iPad -- and soon, other tablets, as well. Adobe also launched several new features for Photoshop and Lightroom, including a new Content-Aware Fill tool.

The Huawei Mate 20 may come with a massive 40W charger

Huawei is no stranger when it comes to big phones. And this year it plans to go even bigger with the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. Here's what we think we know about the new range.
Home Theater

Dish Network or DirecTV: Which is the better choice for you?

So, you’ve chosen to go with a satellite television provider. Check out our quick rundown of what both Dish Network and DirecTV offer in terms of content, hardware, and pricing, and why you might choose them over streaming services.

Upcoming iPad may lose a few millimeters, along with its headphone jack

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.