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Cisco Visual Networking Index forecast projects 26-fold growth from 2010-2015

February 5, 2011 | By Anthony Capkun

February 05, 2011

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2010 to 2015, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold during this time period, reaching 6.3 exabytes/month, or an annual run rate of 75 exabytes by 2015 due to a projected surge in mobile internet-enabled devices delivering popular video applications and services.

“Consumers and business users continue to demonstrate a healthy demand
for mobile data services. The fact that global mobile data traffic
increased 2.6-fold from 2009 to 2010, nearly tripling for the third year
in a row, confirms the strength of the mobile internet,” said Suraj
Shetty, Cisco VP worldwide service provider marketing. “The seemingly
endless bevy of new mobile devices, combined with greater mobile
broadband access, more content, and applications of all types—especially
video—are the key catalysts driving this remarkable growth.”

This traffic increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 92%
over the same period. Two major global trends are driving these
significant mobile data traffic increases: a continued surge in
mobile-ready devices (such as tablets and smartphones) and widespread
mobile video content consumption.


The Cisco study predicts that more than 5.6 billion personal devices
will be connected to mobile networks by 2015, and there will also be 1.5
billion machine-to-machine nodes—nearly the equivalent of one mobile
connection for every person in the world. Mobile video is forecast to
represent 66% of all mobile data traffic by 2015, increasing 35-fold
from 2010 to 2015, the highest growth rate of any mobile data
application tracked in the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic
Forecast. Mobile traffic originating from tablet devices is expected to
grow 205-fold from 2010 to 2015, the highest growth rate of any device
category tracked.

Facts and Projections

The updated research projects that annual global mobile data traffic
will reach 6.3 exabytes per month, or an annual run rate of 75 exabytes,
by 2015. That amount is the equivalent of 19 billion DVDs or 536
quadrillion SMS text messages, or 75 times the amount of global IP
traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in the year 2000.


Global mobile data traffic increased 159% from calendar year 2009 to
calendar year 2010 to 237 petabytes per month, or the equivalent of 60
million DVDs. It grew 4.2 times as fast as global fixed broadband data
traffic in 2010, when global mobile data traffic was three times the
size of all global internet traffic (fixed and mobile) in the year 2000.

According to the updated forecast, the Middle East and Africa will have
the highest regional mobile data traffic growth rates, with a compound
annual growth rate of 129% (63-fold growth) over the period. Latin
America anticipates a 111% CAGR (42-fold growth), followed by Central
and Eastern Europe, with a 102% CAGR (34-fold growth), and Asia-Pacific,
with a 101% CAGR (33-fold growth). Western Europe is forecast to
experience a 91% CAGR (25-fold growth); North America, an 83% CAGR
(20-fold growth); and Japan, a 70% CAGR (14-fold growth).

India has the highest national mobile data traffic growth rate, with a
CAGR of 158% (115-fold growth) for the forecast period, followed by
South Africa, with a 144% CAGR (87-fold growth), and Mexico, with a 131%
CAGR (66-fold growth). Comparatively, the United Kingdom will see an
84% CAGR (21-fold growth), and the U.S. an 83% CAGR (21-fold growth),
according to the updated forecast.

Global Mobile Device and Customer Milestones

The Cisco study estimates there will be a mobile connected device for
nearly every member of the world’s population by 2015 (7.2 billion
people per United Nations’ population estimate) and more than 7.1
billion mobile connections to handsets, other devices and
machine-to-machine nodes (excluding Wi-Fi connections, per Cisco Visual
Networking Index methodology).

Today, the average mobile connection generates 65 MB of traffic per
month, equivalent to about 15 MP3 music files. By 2015, the average
mobile connection is anticipated to generate more than 17 times that
amount, to a total of 1118 megabytes of traffic per month, equivalent to
about 260 MP3 music files. Smart phones, laptops, and other portable
devices will drive more than 87% of global mobile traffic by 2015.


Mobile network-connected tablets will generate more traffic in 2015 (248
petabytes per month) than the entire global mobile network in 2010 (237
petabytes per month). The same will be true of machine-to-machine (M2M)
traffic, which will reach 295 petabytes per month in 2015.

Global Mobile Network Connection Speeds

The average mobile network connection speed doubled from 2009 to 2010
and is expected to increase ten-fold by 2015. Mobile network connection
speeds are a key factor in supporting mobile data traffic growth.

Average Mobile Connection Speed

• 2009 – 101 kbps
• 2010 – 215 kbps
• 2011- 359 kbps
• 2012 – 584 kbps
• 2013 – 934 kbps
• 2014 – 1465 kbps
• 2015 – 2220 kbps

Average Smartphone Connection Speed

• 2009 – 613 kbps
• 2010 – 1036 kbps
• 2011 – 1443 kbps
• 2012 – 1953 kbps
• 2013 – 2608 kbps
• 2014 – 3424 kbps
• 2015 – 4404 kbps

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