Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cisco: Global Mobile Data Traffic to Grow 13-fold by 2017

Global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold over the next five years, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month (or an annual run rate of 134 exabytes) by 2017, according to the newly released,  sixth annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast.  This represents a  compound annual growth rate of 66% -- a slight decline from the 70% CAGR forecast last year due a slowdown in connected laptop sales especially in western Europe. Nevertheless, the growth rate in mobile data traffic the growth rate in global fixed data traffic by three times.


Cisco's study attributes the rapid expansion to the evident factors:  more mobile users, more mobile connections, faster mobile speeds, and more mobile video.

“By 2017, global mobile data traffic will reach levels that are truly remarkable. Imagine 30 trillion images, or 10 images per day, being sent by every person on this Earth. Or, the Earth’s entire population sending three trillion video clips, or one daily video clip for a year. Those staggering numbers will happen by 2017. It represents what we see as a tsunami of data flowing over the world’s mobile Internet to satisfy our need to connect people, data and things as part of the Internet of Everything," stated Doug Webster, vice president of product and solutions marketing, Cisco.

Some key items in the forecast:
  • By 2017, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (up from 4.3 billion in 2012)
  • By 2017, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices/connections, including more than 1.7 billion machine-to-machine (M2M) connections (up from 7 billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2012).
  • Average global mobile network speeds will increase 7-fold from 2012 (0.5 Mbps) to 2017 (3.9 Mbps).
  • By 2017, mobile video will represent 66 percent of global mobile data traffic (up from 51 percent in 2012).
  • Smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive 93 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2017.
  • M2M traffic (such as GPS systems in cars, asset tracking systems, medical applications, et al.) will represent five percent of 2017 global mobile data traffic.
  • In 2012, 33 percent of total mobile data traffic was offloaded (429 petabytes/month). By 2017, 46 percent of total mobile data traffic will be offloaded (9.6 exabytes/month).
  • In 2012, 2G supported 76 percent of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 3G supported 23 percent; and 4G supported 1 percent.
  • In 2012, 4G connections accounted for 14 percent (124 petabytes/month) of total mobile data traffic.
  • By 2017, 2G networks will support 33 percent of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 3G networks will support 57; and 4G networks will support 10 percent.
  • By 2017, 4G connections will account for 45 percent (5 exabytes/month) of total mobile data traffic.
  • 4G traffic will grow 40-fold from 2012 to 2017, a 109 percent CAGR.
  • In 2012, the average 4G connection generated 2 gigabytes of mobile data traffic per month, which is 18 times greater than the 0.110 gigabytes/month for the average non-4G connection.
Read the complete Cisco Visual Networking Index Mobile Data Traffic Forecast and Methodology, 2012-2017 here:

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