By 2019, annual mobile data usage will grow tenfold, to the equivalent of six trillion video clips (eg, YouTube) per year – more than two daily video clips per person on earth for the year, according to the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast.
The worldwide shift from basic-feature phones to smartphones – combined with the continued growth in tablets, a resurgence in laptops with tablet-like capabilities as well as expanding machine-to-machine (M2M) applications – are key factors supporting the increasing smart traffic trend. Accordingly, Cisco projects that global mobile data traffic will reach an annual run rate of 292 exabytes by 2019, up from 30 exabytes in 2014.
To put the growth rate in perspective, that's 292 times more than all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, fixed and mobile, generated in 2000.
Trends driving mobile data traffic growth include an increase of mobile users, more mobile connections and faster mobile speeds, all of which is translating to more mobile video. By 2019, mobile video will represent 72% of global mobile data traffic (up from 55% in 2014).
The growth of traffic from cloud applications and services such as Netflix and YouTube will be nearly 11-fold from 2014 (two exabytes per month) to 2019 (21.8 exabytes per month). Accordingly, in 2014, cloud applications accounted for 81% of total mobile data traffic; by 2019, cloud applications will account for 90% of total mobile data traffic.
Overall, from 2014 to 2019, Cisco anticipates that global mobile traffic growth will outpace global fixed traffic growth by a factor of three.
Helping things along is the fact that many global service providers are deploying 4G technologies to address consumer and business users' strong demand for wireless services and content. In many emerging markets, service providers are creating new mobile infrastructures with 4G solutions. In some mature markets, service providers are supplementing or replacing legacy 2G or 3G solutions with 4G.
The upshot is that Cisco estimates that 26% of all global devices and connections will be 4G capable by 2019. And, the number of 4G connections globally will grow 18-fold, from 459 million in 2019 to three billion by 2019.
"The on-going adoption of more powerful mobile devices and wider deployments of emerging M2M applications, combined with broader access to faster wireless networks, will be key contributors to significant mobile traffic growth in the coming years," said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider products and solutions marketing at Cisco. "This mobile-centric environment will give service providers a new landscape of challenges and opportunities to innovatively deliver a variety of mobile services and experiences to consumers and business users as the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to take shape."