According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2012 to 2017, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold over the next four years, reaching 11.2 exabytes (one quintillion bytes) per month (for an annual run rate of 134 exabytes) by 2017.
The forecast’s annual run rate of 134 exabytes of mobile data traffic is equivalent to:
- 134 times all the Internet Protocol traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in the year 2000, or
- 30 trillion images (e.g., via MMS or Instagram) — 10 images daily from each person on earth for one year, or
- 3 trillion video clips (e.g., YouTube) — one video clip daily from each person on earth over one year.
During the 2012 to 2017 forecast period, Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outpace global fixed data traffic by a factor of three. The following major trends are driving global mobile data traffic growth:
- More mobile users: By 2017, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (up from 4.3 billion in 2012).
- More mobile connections: By 2017, there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices/connections, including more than 1.7 billion M2M connections (up from 7 billion total mobile devices and M2M connections in 2012).
- Faster mobile speeds: Average global mobile network speeds will increase seven-fold from 2012 (0.5 Mbps) to 2017 (3.9 Mbps).
- More mobile video: By 2017, mobile video will represent 66 percent of global mobile data traffic (up from 51 percent in 2012).
Key Regional Growth Projections
In terms of mobile data traffic growth rates over the forecast period, the Middle East and Africa region is projected to have the highest regional growth rate. Below is how each of the regions ranks in terms of growth rate by 2017:
- The Middle East and Africa: 77 percent CAGR (17.3-fold growth)
- Asia-Pacific: 76 percent CAGR (16.9-fold growth)
- Latin America: 67 percent CAGR (13.2-fold growth)
- Central and Eastern Europe: 66 percent CAGR (12.8-fold growth)
- North America: 56 percent CAGR (9.4-fold growth)
- Western Europe: 50 percent CAGR (7.6-fold growth)
In terms of mobile data traffic generation, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to generate the most mobile data traffic. Here’s how each of the regions rank in terms of anticipated mobile data traffic generation by 2017:
- Asia-Pacific: 5.3 exabytes/month
- North America: 2.1 exabytes/month
- Western Europe: 1.4 exabytes/month
- The Middle East and Africa: 0.9 exabytes/month
- Central and Eastern Europe: 0.8 exabytes/month
- Latin America: 0.7 exabytes/month