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Smartphones, 4G, IoT To Boost Mobile Data Traffic To 367 Exabytes In 2020

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Cisco figures suggest huge increase in mobile data use, fuelled by more devices, faster and more plentiful networks, and video applications

The amount of mobile data generated around the world will rise to 366.8 exabytes per year – or 30.6 exabytes per moth month – by 2020, according to Cisco.

This is due to increased adoption of smartphones, the spread of 4G networks and demand for data intensive video/cloud apps.

The firm’s annual networking index predicts unsurprising but huge increases in smart device, the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables over the next four years, as consumers and businesses move to mobile networks for work and pleasure.

“With the ever-increasing billions of people and things that are being connected, mobility is the predominant medium that’s enabling today’s global digitization transformation,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing at Cisco.

“Future mobile innovations in cellular, such as 5G, and Wi-Fi solutions will be needed to further address new scale requirements, security concerns, and user demands. IoT advancements will continue to fuel tangible benefits for people, businesses, and societies.”

Mobile use

mobile workforceAcross the globe, Cisco claims the number of smart devices will increase from 2.8 billion to 7.8 billion by 2020 while the average speed of a mobile data connection will rise from 2Mbps to 6.5 Mbps and 40.5 percent of all mobile users will be using 4G.

Seventy-two percent of all traffic generated will be from 4G connections and these faster speeds will enable more people to watch streaming video, which will account for 77 percent of all mobile traffic by the turn of the decade. Mobile traffic will increase twice as fast as fixed line traffic and 55 percent of it will be on IPv6, according to Cisco.

The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) will also have an impact as M2M modules are set to account for 26 percent of all devices and 6.7 percent of all traffic. The number of wearables will increase from 96.7 million to 600 million.

But despite the advances in cellular coverage, 55 percent of mobile traffic will be offloaded to Wi-Fi networks. The number of public hotspots will increase seven-fold to 432 million and 38.1 exabytes will be offloaded.

Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) services will become more popular too, according to Cisco. In 2016, use of VoWi-Fi will surpass Voice over LTE, in 2018 VoIP and by 2020, the networking firm predicts Wi-Fi will account for half of all mobile IP voice traffic.

In the UK, the number of smart devices in use will increase from 64 million to 139 million by 2020, generating 82.6 petabytes of mobile traffic. There will be 70 million smartphones, up from 51 million, and the number of wearables will increase from 2.3 million to 18.6 million.

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