The study combines independent analyst forecasts, real-world mobile data usage, and Cisco’s own estimates for mobile application adoption, minutes of use, and transmission speeds.
- By 2018, there will be 4.9 billion mobile users, up from 4.1 billion in 2013.
- By 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices/connections—including eight billion personal mobile devices and two billion M2M connections, up from seven billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2013.
- Average global mobile network speeds will nearly double from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps by 2018.
- By 2018, mobile video will represent 69 percent of global mobile data traffic, up from 53 percent in 2013.
Global Shift to Smarter Devices
- Globally, 54 percent of mobile connections will be “smart” connections by 2018, up from 21 percent in 2013. Smart devices and connections have advanced computing/multi-media capabilities and a minimum of 3G connectivity.
- Smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive about 94 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2018. M2M traffic will represent five percent of 2018 global mobile data traffic while basic handsets will account for 1 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2018. Other portables will account for 0.1 percent.
- Mobile cloud traffic will grow 12-fold from 2013 to 2018, a 64 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Impact of Machine-to-Machine Connections (and Wearable Devices)
- In 2013, M2M connections represented nearly five percent of mobile-connected devices in use and generated more than one percent of total mobile data traffic
- By 2018, M2M connections will represent nearly 20 percent of mobile-connected devices in use and generate almost six percent of total mobile data traffic.
- In 2013, there were 21.7 million global wearable devices. By 2018, there will be 176.9 million global wearable devices or a 52 percent CAGR.
4G Mobile Adoption and Traffic Growth
- By 2018, 4G connections will support 15 percent of all connections, up from 2.9 percent in 2013.
- By 2018, 4G connections will support 51 percent, or 8 exabytes per month, of total mobile data traffic, up from 30 percent, or 448 petabytes per month, in 2013.
- 4G traffic will grow 18-fold from 2013 to 2018, a 78 percent CAGR.
Wi-Fi Offload Traffic Surpasses Cellular Traffic
- More mobile data traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi from mobile-connected devices (17.3 exabytes per month) than will remain on mobile networks by 2018 (15.9 exabytes per month).
- By 2018, 52 percent of global mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi/small cell networks, up from 45 percent in 2013.
Global Mobile Application Analysis: Video Remains on Top
- Mobile video traffic will increase 14-fold from 2013 to 2018 and will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application category.
- By 2018, mobile video will be 69 percent of global mobile traffic, up from 53 percent in 2013.
- By 2018, web and other data applications will be 17 percent of global mobile traffic, down from 28 percent in 2013.
- By 2018, streaming audio will be 11 percent of global mobile traffic, down from 14 percent in 2013.
- By 2018, file sharing will be three percent of global mobile traffic, down from four percent in 2013.
Regional Growth Projections
- The Middle East and Africa will have a 70 percent CAGR and 14-fold growth;
- Central and Eastern Europe will have a 68 percent CAGR and 13-fold growth;
- Asia-Pacific will have a 67 percent CAGR and 13-fold growth;
- Latin America will have a 66 percent CAGR and 13-fold growth;
- North America will have a 50 percent CAGR and eight-fold growth; and
- Western Europe will have a 50 percent CAGR and seven-fold growth.