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Global Mobile Internet Data Traffic To Explode 13-Fold By 2017: Cisco

Worldwide mobile data traffic is expected to increase 13-fold over the next five years and reach some 11.2 exabytes per month (or 134 exabytes annually) by 2017, according to he Cisco® Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2012 to 2017.

“How much is 134 exabytes, exactly?”, you ask. That’s almost three million times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written. Or 134 times all the Internet Protocol traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in the year 2000. Or 3 trillion video clips (e.g., YouTube) — one daily video clip from each person on earth over one year.

And that’s just mobile data.

Much of the increase in mobile traffic can be attributed to continued strong growth in the number of mobile Internet connections (personal devices and machine-to-machine applications). In fact, during the forecast period Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outgrow global fixed data traffic by three times. In fact, during the forecast period Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outgrow global fixed data traffic by three times. This prediction seems likely as M2M applications and uses are becoming more frequent and the consumer data it provides is very valuable.

Here are some of the major trends Cisco believes will be driving global mobile data traffic growth:

1. More mobile users. By 2017, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (up from 4.3 billion in 2012).

2. More mobile connections. By 2017, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices/connections, including more than 1.7 billion M2M connections (up from 7 billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2012). Smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive 93 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2017.

3. Faster mobile speeds. Average global mobile network speeds will increase seven-fold from 2012 (0.5 Mbps) to 2017 (3.9 Mbps).

4. More mobile video. By 2017, mobile video will represent 66 percent of global mobile data traffic (up from 51 percent in 2012).

To address the rise in demand for mobile Internet, service providers are increasingly looking to (or will be forced to) off-load traffic to fixed or Wi-Fi networks despite many global mobile carriers deploying 4G technologies to address s consumer and business users’ demand.

“By 2017, global mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, increasing 13-fold over the next five years, to reach an amount more than 46 times the total amount of mobile IP traffic just a few years ago in 2010,” says Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Networking Marketing, Cisco. “With such dramatic adoption, we are rapidly approaching the time when nearly every network experience will be a mobile one and, more often than not, a visual one as well.”

“This trend is a result of the seemingly insatiably demand by consumers and businesses alike to achieve the benefits gained when connecting people, data, and things in an Internet of Everything,” he adds.

Asia To Generate Most Mobile Data Traffic by 2017

In terms of mobile data traffic generation, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to generate the most mobile data traffic in 2017 at 5.3 exabytes per month, compared to the next highest region, North America, at 2.1 exabytes per month.

“Asia Pacific, as we all know, is leading the way in transforming how data is utilized,” says Joshua Soh, managing director for Cisco in Singapore and Brunei. “We will be outnumbered by the number of mobile devices in 2017 given the expected  2.8 billion mobile users in the region.”

“The forecast reinforces our view that Asia will see a monumental increase in mobile users adopting cloud applications both at work and play, driving further pressure on the network in the coming years. Singapore, as the gateway to the rest of Asia, remains in a position to harness these trends by enabling service providers to work ahead of the curve in providing better user experiences on mobile devices.”

You can find out more at Cisco Visual Networking Index.


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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