In December 2009 the mobile industry reached a historic milestone. Mobile data traffic surpassed voice traffic.

Ericsson announced the news at the CTIA Wireless 2010 convention in Las Vegas on March 23.

The announcement highlighted the importance of constantly connected mobile devices in our everyday lives and showed the rapid growth of mobile data traffic across the globe.

"This is a significant milestone with some 400 million mobile broadband subscriptions now generating more data traffic than the voice traffic from the total 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions around the world," said Hans Vestberg, Ericsson President and CEO, speaking at a management briefing in Las Vegas.

"Our view that the appeal of anywhere, anytime connectivity would drive mobile broadband growth is confirmed by the real world measurements under taken by Ericsson."

According to Ericsson's finding, global data traffic has been increasing at a rate of 280 percent every year for the past two years. During the next five years data traffic is expected to double annually with consumers expecting anytime, anywhere access.

An increasing percentage of mobile data traffic can be attributed to the use of social networking sites such as Facebook. Ericsson says more than 100 million active users are accessing Facebook with their mobile devices.

Another interesting fact to come from the study is that consumers are hesitant to share their mobile broadband connection with others. Sixty-five percent of people surveyed said they wouldn't share their mobile broadband connection with another person and 80 percent of respondents said they would not share their laptop.

Ericsson's study was based on 4,580 consumers in six mature markets.