Cisco has released its annual projection of the growth of mobile broadband over the next five years, and an predicts an 11-fold growth rate from 2013, fed by a big build-out of 4G mobile networks, smartphones and video.
Cisco’s data forecasts come on the eve of the annual Mobile World Congress in late February, and have been criticized for being self-serving and somewhat apocalyptic, but the charts are always thought-provoking and easy on the eyes.
Two billion of the 10 billion mobile connections in 2018 will come from machine-to-machine communications, reports the NY Times. These include things like asset tracking devices, global positioning systems in cars and wearable computers like smart watches, personal health monitors and Google’s Glass wearable.
Highlights of the report:
- Global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013.
- 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.
- Globally, smart devices represented 21 percent of the total mobile devices and connections in 2013, they accounted for 88 percent of the mobile data traffic.
- Mobile network connection speeds more than doubled 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.
- Average smartphone usage grew 50 percent in 2013, using 529 MB per month, up from 353 MB per month in 2012.
- Smartphones represented only 27 percent of total global handsets in use in 2013, but represented 95 percent of total global handset traffic.
- In 2013, the typical smartphone generated 48 times more mobile data traffic (529 MB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 11 MB per month of mobile data traffic).
- Globally, there were nearly 22 million wearable devices (a sub-segment of M2M category) in 2013 generating 1.7 petabytes of monthly traffic.
- Globally, 45 percent of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell in 2013.
- Per-user iOS mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) data usage marginally surpassed that of Android mobile devices.
- In 2013, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 2.2-fold to 92 million, and each tablet generated 2.6 times more traffic than the average smartphone.
- In 2013, mobile data traffic per tablet was 1,374 MB per month, compared to 529 MB per month per smartphone.
- There were 149 million laptops on the mobile network in 2013, and each laptop generated 4.6 times more traffic than the average smartphone.
- Mobile data traffic per laptop was 2.45 GB per month in 2013, up 17 percent from 2.1 GB per month in 2012.
- 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.