Mobile data traffic has grown 17-fold over the past 5 years

China’s mobile traffic surpassed that of the United States by the end of 2017. China’s mobile traffic reached nearly 2 exabytes per month by the end of 2017, and mobile traffic in the United States was 1.2 exabytes per month

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Cisco has released new forecasts for wireless data traffic, as part of its Visual Networking Index. The company expects mobile traffic to represent nearly a fifth of global IP traffic by 2022, reaching 930 exabytes annually, compared to just 9 percent in 2017. Wi-Fi’s share of global traffic will also increase over the forecast period, to 51 percent from 43 percent, while wired internet drops to 29 percent in 2022 from nearly half in 2017.

Fourth-Generation (4G) traffic accounted for 72% of mobile traffic in 2017.

Although 4G connections represented only 35 percent of mobile connections in 2017, they already accounted for 72 percent of mobile data traffic, while 3G connections represented 30 percent of mobile connections and 21 percent of the traffic. In 2017, a 4G connection generated nearly three times more traffic on average than a 3G connection.

Mobile offload exceeded cellular traffic by a significant margin in 2017. Fifty-four percent of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell in 2017. In total, 13.4 exabytes of mobile data traffic were offloaded onto the fixed network each month.

Nearly Six hundred and fifty million mobile devices and connections were added in 2017. Global mobile devices and connections in 2017 grew to 8.6 billion, up from 7.9 billion in 2016.

Globally, smart devices represented 53 percent of the total mobile devices and connections in 2017; they accounted for 92 percent of the mobile data traffic. (For the purposes of this study, “smart devices” refers to mobile connections that have advanced multimedia/computing capabilities with a minimum of 3G connectivity.) In 2017, on an average, a smart device generated 10 times more traffic than a nonsmart device.

Mobile network (cellular) connection speeds grew 1.3-fold in 2017. Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2017 was 8.7 Megabits per second (Mbps), up from 6.8 Mbps in 2016.

Mobile video traffic accounted for 59 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2017. Mobile video traffic now accounts for more than half of all mobile data traffic.

The top 1 percent of mobile data subscribers generated 6 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 52 percent in 2010. The top 20 percent of mobile users generated 62 percent of mobile data traffic.

Average smartphone usage grew 49 percent in 2017. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2017 was 2.3 GB per month, up from 1.6 GB per month in 2016.

Smartphones (including phablets) represented only 51 percent of total mobile devices and connections in 2017, but represented 88 percent of total mobile traffic. In 2017, the typical smartphone generated 47 times more mobile data traffic (2.3 GB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 50 MB per month of mobile data traffic).

Globally, there were 526 million wearable devices (a sub-segment of the machine-to-machine [M2M] category) in 2017. Of these, 19 million wearables had embedded cellular connections.

Per-user iOS mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) data usage surpassed that of Android mobile devices data usage. By the end of August 2018, average iOS consumption exceeded average Android consumption in North America, where iOS usage was 9.1 GB per month and Android was 8.6 GB per month.

In 2017, 47 percent of mobile devices were potentially IPv6-capable. This estimate is based on network connection speed and OS capability.

In 2017, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 14% to 176 million, and the number of mobile-connected PCs increased 1% to 135 million. In 2017, the average mobile data traffic per PC/Tablet was 3.3 GB per month, compared to 2.3 GB per month per smartphone.

Average nonsmartphone usage increased to 50 MB per month in 2017, compared to 34 MB per month in 2016. Basic handsets still made up 40 percent of handsets on the network.

The Mobile Network Through 2022

Mobile data traffic will reach the following milestones within the next 5 years:

●   Monthly global mobile data traffic will be 77 exabytes by 2022, and annual traffic will reach almost one zettabyte.

●   Mobile will represent 20 percent of total IP traffic by 2022.

●   The number of mobile-connected devices per capita will reach 1.5 by 2022.

●   The average global smartphone connection speed will surpass 40 Mbps by 2022.

●   Smartphones will surpass 90 percent of mobile data traffic by 2022.

●   4G connections will have the highest share (54 percent) of total mobile connections by 2022.

●   4G traffic will be more than seven-tenths (71 percent) of the total mobile traffic by 2022.

●   5G traffic will be more than ten percent (12 percent) of the total mobile traffic by 2022.

●   Nearly three-fifths of traffic (59 percent) will be offloaded from cellular networks (on to Wi-Fi) by 2022.

●   Nearly four-fifths (79 percent) of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2022.

Global mobile data traffic will increase seven-fold between 2017 and 2022. Mobile data traffic will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 46 percent from 2017 to 2022, reaching 77.5 exabytes per month by 2022.

By 2022 there will be 1.5 mobile devices per capita. There will be 12.3 billion mobile-connected devices by 2022, including M2M modules—exceeding the world’s projected population at that time (8 billion) by one and a half times.

Mobile network connection speeds will increase more than three-fold by 2022. The average mobile network connection speed (8.7 Mbps in 2017) will reach 28.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) by 2022.

By 2022, 4G will be 54 percent of connections, but 71 percent of total traffic. By 2022, a 4G connection will generate nearly twice as much traffic on average as a 3G connection.

By 2022, 5G will be 3.4 percent of connections but 11.8 percent of total traffic. By 2022, a 5G connection will generate 2.6 times more traffic than the average 4G connection.

By 2022, nearly three-quarters of all devices connected to the mobile network will be “smart” devices. Globally, 72.8 percent of mobile devices will be smart devices by 2022, up from 52.8 percent in 2017. The vast majority of mobile data traffic (99 percent) will originate from these smart devices by 2022, up from 92 percent in 2017.

By 2022, 76 percent of all global mobile devices could potentially be capable of connecting to an IPv6 mobile network. There will be 9.4 billion IPv6-capable devices by 2022.

Nearly four-fifths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2022. Mobile video will increase 9-fold between 2017 and 2022, accounting for 79 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.

By 2022, mobile-connected tablets and PCs will generate 6.8 GB of traffic per month on average, a doubling over the 2017 average of 3.3 GB per month. Aggregate traffic associated with PCs and tablets will be three and a half times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 28 percent.

The average smartphone will generate 11 GB of traffic per month by 2022, more than a four and a half-fold increase over the 2017 average of 2 GB per month. By 2022, aggregate smartphone traffic will be seven times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 48 percent.

By 2017, 59 percent of all traffic from mobile-connected devices (111 exabytes) will be offloaded to the fixed network by means of Wi-Fi devices and femtocells each month. Of all IP traffic (fixed and mobile) in 2022, 51% will be Wi-Fi, 29% will be wired, and 20% will be mobile.

The Middle East and Africa will have the strongest mobile data traffic growth of any region with a 56 percent CAGR. This region will be followed by Asia Pacific at 49 percent and Latin America at 43 percent.

China’s mobile traffic surpassed that of the United States by the end of 2017. China’s mobile traffic reached nearly 2 exabytes per month by the end of 2017, and mobile traffic in the United States was 1.2 exabytes per month.

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