SAN JOSE, Calif. – Feb. 3, 2015 – According to the latest annual update of the Cisco® Visual Networking Index™ (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2014 to 2019, the ongoing adoption of more powerful mobile devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections combined with broader access to faster cellular networks are key contributors to significant mobile traffic growth. In 2014, 88 percent of global mobile data traffic was "smart" traffic, with advanced computing/multi-media capabilities and a minimum of 3G connectivity, but that figure is expected to rise to 97 percent by 2019.
The worldwide shift from basic-feature phones to smartphones – combined with the continued growth in tablets, a resurgence in laptops with tablet-like capabilities as well as expanding machine-to-machine (M2M) applications – are key factors supporting the increasing smart traffic trend. From a global mobile network perspective, 3G is expected to surpass 2G as the top cellular technology, based on connection share, by 2017. By 2019, 3G networks will support 44 percent of global mobile devices and connections; 4G networks will support 26 percent of connections, though will generate 68 percent of traffic.
In terms of topline traffic growth, the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast projects that global mobile data traffic will reach an annual run rate of 292 exabytes by 2019, up from 30 exabytes in 2014. These predicted 292 exabytes would represent:
*An exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes or one billion gigabytes.
Key Global Mobile Data Traffic Drivers
From 2014 to 2019, Cisco anticipates that global mobile traffic growth will outpace global fixed traffic growth by a factor of three. Trends driving mobile data traffic growth include:
Impact of Mobile M2M Connections (and Wearable Devices)
M2M refers to applications that enable wireless systems to communicate with similar devices to support global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation systems, asset tracking, utility meters, security and surveillance video. Wearable devices are included as a sub-segment of the M2M connections category to help project the growth trajectory of the Internet of Everything (IoE).
Increase in 4G Connectivity
Many global service providers are deploying 4G technologies to address consumer and business users' strong demand for wireless services and content. In many emerging markets, service providers are creating new mobile infrastructures with 4G solutions. In some mature markets, service providers are supplementing or replacing legacy 2G or 3G solutions with 4G technologies.
Wi-Fi Offload Traffic Surpasses Cellular Traffic
"Offload" refers to traffic from dual mode devices and supports cell and Wi-Fi connectivity, excluding laptops, over Wi-Fi and small cell networks. Offloading occurs at the user or device level when one switches from a cell connection to Wi-Fi and small cell access. The Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2014-2019) mobile offload projections include traffic from public hotspots and residential Wi-Fi networks.
Voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) Surpasses Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)
Given the growth and strategic mobile networking role of Wi-Fi technologies, this year's study includes an analysis of VoWi-Fi compared to other mobile voice services. VoWi-Fi is not new, but earlier solutions had limitations that affected adoption and end-user experiences. Carrier-grade VoWi-Fi offers are now being introduced, which can be delivered to non-SIM devices, such as Wi-Fi only tablets. VoWi-Fi has the potential for significant growth over the next five years.
Growth of Mobile Cloud Traffic
Cloud applications and services such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify allow mobile users to overcome the memory capacity and processing power limitations of mobile devices.
Key Regional Growth Projections
In terms of mobile data traffic growth rates over the forecast period, the Middle East and Africa region is projected to have the highest regional growth rate. Below is how each of the regions ranks in terms ofgrowth rate by 2019:
In terms of mobile data traffic generation, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to generate the most mobile data traffic. Below is how each of the regions ranks in terms of anticipated mobile data traffic generation by 2019:
Cisco Mobile VNI Forecast Methodology
The Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2014-2019) relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world mobile data usage studies. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco's own estimates for mobile application adoption, minutes of use and transmission speeds. Key enablers such as mobile broadband speed and device computing power are also factored into Cisco mobile VNI projections and findings. A detailed methodology description is included in the complete report (see link below).
"The ongoing adoption of more powerful mobile devices and wider deployments of emerging M2M applications, combined with broader access to faster wireless networks, will be key contributors to significant mobile traffic growth in the coming years. This mobile-centric environment will give service providers a new landscape of challenges and opportunities to innovatively deliver a variety of mobile services and experiences to consumers and business users as the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to take shape."
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Additional Supporting Resources
See how the rapid evolution of mobile services to a virtualized cloud environment creates more than $500B in new opportunity by 2019. You can find out more using our Monetization and Optimization Index (MOI). And you can use it to forecast your specific market in cloud, mobile or video services.
Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update Webcast
Cisco invites press, analysts and bloggers to attend a webcast featuring Cisco executives talking about the global impact of mobile data traffic growth for service providers, organizations and consumers. The pre-recorded webcast begins at 8:00 a.m. (PST) today and can be accessed by registering at Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update (2014-2019).
Cisco also welcomes press, analysts, bloggers, service providers, regulators and other interested parties to use and reference our research with proper attribution, such as "Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2014-2019."
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