February 4, 2015
The latest version of the Cisco Visual Networking Index and predictions for global mobile data traffic between 2014 and 2019 show that the continued adoption of mobile devices and more powerful machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, combined with increased access to networks faster cell phones are key factors for significant growth in mobile traffic.
In 2014, 88% of global mobile data traffic was “smart” traffic, with advanced computing / multimedia capabilities and minimal 3G connectivity, but this figure is expected to increase to 97% by 2019.
The global shift from the use of phones with basic features to smartphones, the constant expansion of the use of tablets, the resurgence of laptops with tablet-type capabilities, as well as the expansion of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections are factors. key drivers of the smart traffic trend.
In terms of top-line data traffic growth, the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data TrafficForecast Index projects that global mobile data traffic will reach an annual rate of 292 exabytes by 2019, up from 30 exabytes in 2014. This prediction 292 exabytes of mobile data traffic would represent:
- 292 times more than all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, fixed and mobile, generated in 2000; or
- 65 billion images (for example, multimedia messaging service or Instagram) – this means 23 images per person per day on earth for a year; or
- 6 billion video clips (such as YouTube) -more than two video clips daily per person on earth for a year.
Main triggers of mobile data traffic globally
From 2014 to 2019, Cisco anticipates that global mobile traffic growth will outpace global fixed traffic growth by a factor of three. Trends driving mobile data traffic growth include:
- More mobile users: By 2019, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (4.3 billion in 2014). In 2014, almost 59% of the world’s population (7.2 billion people) were mobile users, and by 2019, more than 69% of the world’s population (7.6 billion people) will be mobile users.
- More mobile connections: By 2019, there will be approximately 11.5 billion mobile devices / connections, including 8.3 billion personal mobile devices and 3.2 billion M2M connections (up to 7.4 billion total mobile devices as well as M2M connections in 2014).
- Faster mobile speeds: The global average speed of mobile networks will increase 2.4 times from 2014 (1.7 Mbps) to 2019 (4.0 Mbps).
- More mobile video: By 2019, mobile video will account for 72% of global mobile data traffic (up from 55% in 2014).
Impact of mobile machine-to-machine connections (and portable devices)
M2M refers to applications that enable communication between wireless systems and similar devices to support global satellite location system (GPS) navigation systems, asset tracking, utility meters, and security and video surveillance.
- The number of wearable devices globally will grow five times, reaching 578 million in 2019, up from 109 million in 2014, with the majority of devices planned in North America and APJC.
- It is expected to drive 18-fold growth in mobile traffic via handheld devices between 2014 and 2019, with the majority channeled via smartphones.
- In 2014, the average portable device generated 6X more traffic per month than a basic phone (portable devices = 141 MBs mobile traffic / per month vs. basic phones = 22 MBs mobile traffic / per month).
- As an example of a high-end portable device, Streaming using a GoPro video camera on a cellular network would generate approximately 5MB of mobile data traffic per minute.
- In 2014, the average M2M module generated 3 times more traffic per month than a basic phone (M2M traffic = 70 MBs mobile / per month vs. basic phones = 22 MBs mobile traffic / per month).
Increased 4G connectivity
Many global service providers are implementing 4G technologies to meet strong consumer and business demand from wireless and content users.
- 26% of all global devices and connections will be 4G enabled by 2019.
- The number of 4G connections worldwide will grow 18 times, from 459 million in 2019 to 3 billion in 2019.
- By 2017, 3G will overtake 2G as the cutting edge cellular technology based on connection fee.
- In 2014, 4G connections represented 40% of total mobile data traffic; In 2019, 4G connections will represent 68% of total mobile data traffic.
Mobile cloud traffic growth
Cloud applications and services such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify allow users to exceed memory capacity and bypass the processing power limitations of mobile devices.
- Mobile cloud traffic will grow nearly 11 times from 2014 (2 exabytes / month) versus 2019 (21.8 exabytes / month).
- In 2014, cloud applications accounted for 81% of total mobile data traffic; In 2019, cloud applications will account for 90% of total mobile data traffic.
Regional growth projections
In terms of mobile data traffic growth rates over the forecast period, the Middle East and Africa are projected to have the highest regional growth rate.
- The Middle East and Africa will have a compound annual growth rate of 72%, growing 15.3 times.
- Latin America will have a compound annual growth rate of 59% growing 10.1 times.
- North America will have a compound annual growth rate of 47% CAGR, growing 6.8 times.
In terms of mobile data traffic generation, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to generate the majority of mobile data traffic by 2019.
Asia Pacific: 9.5 exabytes per month in 2019
North America: 3.8 exabytes per month in 2019
Latin America: 2.0 exabytes per month in 2019
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