Report from Cisco also predicts that 4G networks will carry 51 percent of mobile data traffic by 2018
New research from Cisco has predicted that mobile data usage will greatly increase over the next five years, estimating an 11-fold increase in traffic by 2018.
According to the company’s Visual Networking Index Forecast, the global mobile network will increase three times as fast as global fixed traffic, helped primarily by an increase in the number of mobile device users worldwide, which will rise to 4.9 billion by 2018.
There will also be an increase in the number of mobile data connections, which will total more than 10 billion by 2018, eight billion of which will be personal mobile devices and two billion machine to machine (M2M) connections.
The report states that 4G networks will take the major part of this load, with the report predicting that 51 percent of mobile data traffic will be handled by such networks. By 2018, Cisco expects that the average global mobile network speed will nearly double from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps by 2018, boosting the number of ‘smart’ mobile connections to 54 percent worldwide.
Cisco sees the mass increase in traffic as coming from continued strong growth in the number of mobile Internet connections, especially from personal devices and M2M connections. The report predicts that there will be over 10 billion M2M connections by 2018, 1.4 times greater than the world’s population (which is estimated by the United Nations to hit 7.6 billion people by 2018). This includes a major rise in the number of wearable technology devices, which the report predicts will total 176.9 million by 2018, a major increase on the current total of 21.7 million.
The Middle East and Africa is projected to have the highest regional growth rate by 2018, with the report predicting a 14-fold growth in the region, followed closely by Central and Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, all of which have a projected 13-fold growth in traffic. North America’s traffic is predicted to rise eight-fold, with Western Europe seeing a seven-fold rise in data usage.
The UK will see an eight-fold increase in mobile traffic by 2018, reaching 445 petabytes per month (up from 56 petabytes last year). The average mobile internet speed in the UK will reach just over 3Mbps by 2018.
“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,” said Doug Webster, vice president of marketing at Cisco.
“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 centre of the Internet of Everything.”
Overall, the report predicts that mobile data usage will reach an annual run rate of 190 exabytes (equal to 190 quintillion bytes or 190 billion gigabytes) by 2018, equivalent to 42 trillion images (which equals out to 15 daily images per person on earth for a year) or 4 trillion video clips (more than one daily video clip per person on earth for a year).
This total is also 190 times more than all IP traffic, fixed and mobile, generated in 2000.
Do you know all about the Internet of Things? Take our quiz.