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Cisco expects 11-fold increase in mobile data traffic

Global mobile data traffic is expected to grow nearly 11-fold within the next four years driven by an increase in both number of mobile users and mobile connections, faster mobile speeds and a growth in mobile video, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast.

Cisco projects that a number of mobile users will rise from 4.1 billion in 2013 to 4.9 billion by 2018. Similarly, mobile connections will increase to 2.5 Mbps by 2018 from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 and a number of mobile video will shift from 53% of overall traffic in 2013 to 69% by 2018, the study reveals.

Also, the total number of mobile internet connections will go up to 10 billion in 2018 from 7 billion in 2013 which means it will outnumber by 1.4 times the expected world’s population which at that time, according to the UN estimates, should stand at 7.6 billion people.

These estimates cover two types of mobile internet connections via personal devices, which will account for 8 billion connections, and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, which are expected to reach 2 billion, respectively, says Cisco.

Globally, approximately 54% of mobile connections will become ‘smart’ connections in 2018 which is up from 21% in 2013. In four years smartphones, laptops and tablets will drive about 94% of global mobile data traffic and mobile cloud traffic will go up by 12% which translates into a 64% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

According to the Cisco VNI in 2018 there will be 176.9 million global wearable devices while M2M connections, which factor in wearable devices, will generate around 6% of total mobile data traffic. And the average mobile connection speed is expected to nearly double from 2013 to 2018.

At the same time 4G traffic will grow 18-fold (78% CAGR) and will support 15% of all connections.

Moreover, mobile video traffic will increase at the fastest pace in mobile application category (14-fold from 2013 to 2018).

The Middle East region and Africa will see the highest regional growth rate in terms of mobile data traffic growth rates (14-fold growth, 70% CAGR) and will be followed by Central and Eastern Europe with a 13-fold growth (68% CAGR).

On the other hand, Asia-Pacific region will generate the highest number of mobile data by 2018 (6.72 exabytes per month), followed by North America and Western Europe.

According to the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast’s annual run rate of 190 exabytes of mobile data traffic in 2018 means it will be 190 times more than IP traffic generated in 2000 or 42 trillion images or 4 trillion video clips.

“Global mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, increasing nearly 11-fold over the next five years, to reach an amount in 2018 that is more than 57 times the total amount of mobile data traffic just a few years ago in 2010. Such growth is not only indicative of mobility becoming a critical characteristic of almost every network experience and the value consumers and businesses alike place on it, but it also represents the immense opportunities ahead for service providers who sit at the centre of the Internet of Everything,” comments on this Doug Webster, Vice President of Products and Solutions Marketing, Cisco.