Data traffic doubled in one year and rose 16 percent between the second and third quarter, the report showed.
The company expects data traffic to continue doubling every year for six years, a development driven in large part by users accessing more video content.
Computers and tablets currently dominate mobile traffic, but the high growth in smartphone subscriptions means data consumption will be split equally between the two by 2018.
“Smartphone traffic is growing faster due to the high growth in subscriptions,” the report said.
Around 40 percent of all phones sold in the third quarter of this year were smartphones.
Mobile devices allow consumers to remain active on social media sites all day, Ericsson noted.
“It has begun to influence and merge with other behaviors, such as watching TV and other video content,” it said.
“The two activities are instead done in parallel or even merged into a new kind of behavior.”
The study also highlighted that using free game apps that are financed by advertising often leads to significantly higher data consumption for the user than the paid-for, premium versions of the software.
Global mobile penetration reached 91 percent in the third quarter this year. The total number of mobile subscriptions is expected to reach 6.6 billion this year and 9.3 billion in 2018, the report said.