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The promise of 5G will fuel growth in video streaming and IoT devices, report claims

The smartphone has largely taken over our digital lives, but if the Ericsson Mobility Report is anything to go by, mobile devices and other smart gadgets will continue to grow in prominence over the course of the next decade. Both the Internet of Things, video, and mobile internet use are expected to rise in prominence.

According to Ericsson, IoT devices are set to overtake mobile in the connected devices category by 2018. The IoT space will maintain a hefty compound annual growth rate of 23 percent between 2015 and 2021. Part of this growth has to do with the introduction of 5G networks, which are expected to launch at some point in 2020.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that mobile is to be ignored. Video is set to play an increasingly important role in our mobile lives. Ericsson forecasts that by 2021, video will account for as much as 70 percent of mobile traffic. That’s hardly surprising, considering the emphasis being placed on video by mobile carriers and internet service providers. T-Mobile, for example, offers unlimited video streaming on select services to its mobile network subscribers.

Video watching on smartphones went up a huge 127 percent between 2014 and 2015 — and interestingly, there was also a 50-percent decline in television watching among teens. People in the 30-35 age range spend four more hours on average watching TV than do teens, something that has remained true since 2011.

So what kinds of video services are people watching? YouTube leads the pack, accounting for between 50 and 70 percent of video traffic.

Of course “video traffic” is a little vague — there are different types of video content out there, and the size of devices has an impact on the types of videos being watched. Tablets, for example, are generally used for watching longer videos more, while tablets and smartphones are used equally used for watching short videos.

While teens tend to use Wi-Fi more often, they’re also more willing to pay to access the internet. The survey showed that 63 percent of teens were willing to pay more for better internet speeds, which is higher than any other age bracket. Of course, they are rarely the ones who are paying.

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