Above: Watch the VNI Mobile Forecast Summary and Key Takeaways video
The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update 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 Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013-2018 white paper presents some of the major of Cisco's major global mobile data traffic projections and growth trends. I will be giving a quick overview and glance at some of the key highlights taken from the white paper, released February 5th.
The Mobile Network in 2013
Global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013. Global mobile data traffic reached 1.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2013, up from 820 petabytes per month at the end of 2012.
Last year’s mobile data traffic was nearly 18 times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. One exabyte of traffic traversed the global Internet in 2000, and in 2013 mobile networks carried nearly 18 exabytes of traffic.
Mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent for the first time in 2012. Mobile video traffic was 53 percent of traffic by the end of 2013.
Over half a billion (526 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2013. Global mobile devices and connections in 2013 grew to 7 billion, up from 6.5 billion in 2012. Smartphones accounted for 77 percent of that growth, with 406 million net additions in 2013.
In 2013, a fourth-generation (4G) connection generated 14.5 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection. Although 4G connections represent only 2.9 percent of mobile connections today, they already account for 30 percent of mobile data traffic.
The Mobile Network Through 2018
Mobile data traffic will reach the following milestones within the next five years.
● Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 15 exabytes by 2018.
● The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by 2014.
● The average mobile connection speed will surpass 2 Mbps by 2016.
● Due to increased usage on smartphones, smartphones will reach 66 percent of mobile data traffic by 2018.
● Monthly mobile tablet traffic will surpass 2.5 exabyte per month by 2018.
● Tablets will exceed 15 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2016.
● 4G traffic will be more than half of the total mobile traffic by 2018.
● There will be more traffic offloaded from cellular networks (on to Wi-Fi) than remain on cellular networks by 2018.
Global mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold between 2013 and 2018. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61 percent from 2013 to 2018, reaching 15.9 exabytes per month by 2018.
By the end of 2014, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2018 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. There will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices by 2018, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules—exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.6 billion).
Mobile network connection speeds will increase two-fold by 2018. The average mobile network connection speed (1,387 Kbps in 2013) will exceed 2.5 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2018.
By 2018, 4G will be 15 percent of connections, but 51 percent of total traffic. By 2018, a 4G connection will generate 6 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection.
By 2018, over half of all devices connected to the mobile network will be “smart” devices. Globally, 54 percent of mobile devices will be smart devices by 2018, up from 21 percent in 2013. The vast majority of mobile data traffic (96 percent) will originate from these smart devices by 2018, up from 88 percent in 2013.
Global Mobile Data Traffic, 2013 to 2018
Overall mobile data traffic is expected to grow to 15.9 exabytes per month by 2018, nearly an 11-fold increase over 2013. Mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 61 percent from 2013 to 2018 (Figure 1).
While there is an overall growth in the number of mobile devices and connections, there is also a visible shift in the device mix. Throughout the forecast period, we see that the device mix is getting smarter with an increasing number of devices with higher computing resources, network connection capabilities that create a growing demand for more capable and intelligent networks. We define smart devices and connections as those having advanced computing and multimedia capabilities with a minimum of 3G connectivity. As mentioned previously, 526 million mobile devices and connections were added in 2013, and smartphones accounted for 77 percent of that growth at 406 million net adds. The share of smart devices and connections as a percentage of the total will increase from 21 percent in 2013 to more than half, at 54 percent, by 2018, growing 3.8 fold during the forecast period (Figure 4).
One topic analyzed within the forecast was mobile video and its dominance when it comes to mobile applications. Mobile video will grow at a CAGR of 69% between 2013 and 2018, the highest growth rate of any mobile application category that we forecast, other than machine-to-machine traffic. Mobile video represented more than half of global mobile data traffic beginning in 2012, indicating that it is having an immediate impact on traffic today, not just in the future. Refer to Figure 10 taken from the VNI Mobile Forecast, 2013-2018 white paper on how mobile video will generate over 69% of mobile data traffic by 2018:
In the white paper, not only will you find more data taken from 2013 as well as more predictions for global mobile data traffic through to 2018 but in depth information and charts regarding the following trends:
Transitioning to Smarter Mobile Devices
Measuring Internet of Everything (IoE) Adoption - Emerging Wearable Devices
Analyzing Mobile Applications - Video Dominance
Profiling Bandwidth Consumption by Device
Assessing Mobile Traffic/Offload by Access Type (2G, 3G and 4G)
Comparing Mobile Network Speeds
Reviewing Tiered Pricing - Managing Top Mobile Users
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