Above: Watch this short animation highlighting the latest VNI Mobile forecast
The Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2012-2017 is part of the comprehensive Cisco VNI forecast, an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications on global networks. The new study includes projections for worldwide and regional mobile data traffic growth, device and M2M proliferation, top mobile networking trends and their implications on service provider wireless infrastructures, consumer services, and much more. Here are some of the key findings:
The Mobile Network in 2012
Global mobile data traffic grew 70 percent in 2012. Global mobile data traffic reached 885 petabytes per month at the end of 2012, up from 520 petabytes per month at the end of 2011.
In 2012, a fourth-generation (4G) connection generated 19 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection. Although 4G connections represent only 0.9 percent of mobile connections today, they already account for 14 percent of mobile data traffic.
Average smartphone usage grew 81 percent in 2012. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2012 was 342 MB per month, up from 189 MB per month in 2011.
In 2012, 14 percent of mobile devices and connections were potentially IPv6-capable. This estimate is based on network connection speed and OS capability.
In 2012, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 2.5-fold to 36 million, and each tablet generated 2.4 times more traffic than the average smartphone. In 2012, mobile data traffic per tablet was 820 MB per month, compared to 342 MB per month per smartphone.
Mobile data traffic will reach the following milestones within the next five years.
● Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 10 exabytes in 2017.
● The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2013.
● The average mobile connection speed will surpass 1 Mbps in 2014.
● Due to increased usage on smartphones, handsets will exceed 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.
● Monthly mobile tablet traffic will surpass 1 exabyte per month in 2017.
● Tablets will exceed 10 percent of global mobile data traffic in 2015.
Global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold between 2012 and 2017. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66 percent from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017.
By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. There will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices in 2017, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules—exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.6 billion).
In 2017, 4G will be 10 percent of connections, but 45 percent of total traffic. In 2017, a 4G connection will generate 8 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection.
The average smartphone will generate 2.7 GB of traffic per month in 2017, an 8-fold increase over the 2012 average of 342 MB per month. Aggregate smartphone traffic in 2017 will be 19 times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 81 percent.
By 2017, almost 21 exabytes of mobile data traffic will be offloaded to the fixed network by means of Wi-Fi devices and femtocells each month. Without Wi-Fi and femtocell offload, total mobile data traffic would grow at a CAGR of 74 percent between 2012 and 2017 (16-fold growth), instead of the projected CAGR of 66 percent (13-fold growth).
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