Cisco’s Visual Networking Index report, which forecasts mobile data traffic for the next four years, anticipates an almost 11-fold increase in global mobile data from 2013 to 2018.
A total of 190 exabytes of data (190 billion gigabytes) is expected to be consumed on mobile devices in 2018; that’s the equivalent of every person on earth streaming a YouTube video clip every day. In 2000, the total amount of fixed and mobile traffic was less than 1 exabyte.
Growth in mobile traffic is expected to outpace global fixed traffic by a factor of three between 2013 and 2018, driven by a number of trends:
- more mobile users: there will be 4.9 billion mobile users by 2018, up from 4.1 billion in 2013
- more mobile connections: by 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices (including M2M connections) - up from 7 billion in 2013
- faster mobile speeds: average mobile network speeds will nearly double from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps by 2018
- more mobile video consumption: mobile video will represent 69% of global mobile data traffic by 2018, up from 53% in 2013.
However, an increasing amount of this mobile device traffic will be carried over WiFi or via femtocells rather than directly on cellular networks. By 2018, more ‘mobile’ traffic will be offloaded onto WiFi than will be carried over cellular networks (17.3 exabytes per month on WiFi and 15.9 exabytes per month on cellular). This means that 52% of global mobile traffic will be offloaded onto WiFi and ‘small cells’, up from 45% in 2013.
Doug Webster, Vice President of Products and Solutions Marketing at Cisco, said “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 center of the Internet of Everything.”
The Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast combined independent analyst forecasts with mobile data usage studies and Cisco’s own estimates for mobile application adoption, usage and transmission speeds.
[Cisco blog post; white paper]