By 2020, only 67 per cent of the worldwide consumption demand forecast will be met by Wi-Fi, according to Bell Labs Consulting Mobility Report.
Surging consumer and business demand for mobile content will outpace service providers capability unless there is strong investment in 5G and the Cloud.
The report showed that network operators will have to accelerate their path to network function virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) and adopt new business models to address the 19 per cent demand gap.
A key finding of the report was that audio and video streaming will be the highest contributors to the increased traffic demand in coming years, accounting for a 79 per cent total increase by 2020.
Global consumption demand for digital content and services on mobile and portable devices will see a global average increase of 30 to 45 times from 2014 levels with some markets experiencing as much as a 98-fold jump, according to the report.
Additionally, the report found the number of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices is expected to grow from 1.6 billion in 2014 to between 20 and 46 billion by 2020.
However, despite widespread adoption, the overall cellular traffic generated by the connected devices will only account for two per cent of the total mobile traffic by 2020 until video-enabled sensors and cameras predominate.
"The next evolution of humankind will involve 'life automation', and the creation of a world in which billions of interconnected things including smart objects, cameras, robots, sensors and processes exchange real time video and data streams,” said Nokia Bell Labs president and chief technology officer, Marcus Weldon.
“This new digital era will produce a dramatic shift in demand, challenging mobile operators to achieve the highest performance at the lowest cost per bit while supporting extensive personalisation,” added Weldon.