Ericsson announced this week that mobile data surpassed voice on a global basis during December of 2009. But that wasn’t the interesting news.  In another recent Ericsson consumer insights study, results showed that as much as 80% of respondents said they would not share their laptop with anyone and 65% would not share their mobile broadband connection.

How mean have we become?  Many if us have managed to get unlimited or capped data plans with gigabytes of data to play with but have become possessive of it. I’m sure, if asked, 99% would not share the mobile phone with anyone at all. Mobile phones, particularly smartphones, are invasive devices and their seamless connectivity, are also makes us unsocial.  How many times have you seen couples, and even families, tapping away at something absolutely critical like the latest game, Facebook and emails whilst sitting with others? Many people now prefer to instant message rather than make the effort of opening the mouths and forcing out words.

That probably explains why Ericsson’s findings showed that data traffic globally grew 280% during each of the last two years, and is forecast to double annually over the next five years. The crossover occurred at approximately 140,000 Terabytes per month in both voice and data traffic. The data traffic increase is contributing to revenue growth for operators when more and more consumers use data traffic generating devices such as Smartphones and PCs (which are not even shared with anyone else). During the same period, Ericsson measurements show that traffic in 3G networks surpassed that of 2G networks.

You would have to ask how Ericsson actually knows this, and to this level of accuracy.  After all, not all voice is IP traffic yet, right?  According to the press blurb, the findings are based on Ericsson measurements from live networks covering all regions of the world. Hopefully, the network operators are aware of this!