They Should Know-Mobile Volume Explodes

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Cisco equipment carries a major proportion of Internet and mobile traffic. It wins every time there’s a leap in bandwidth and usage. With this new report, Cisco’s clearly pointing out how transformational mobile has become as well as the major win it represents for the company. According to Cisco, wireless data – rocketing upward on 3G and smartphone-powered engines- will increase 26 fold between 2010 and 2015.

Wireless usage stats for 2010 show remarkable growth. Most of the stats are remarkable, so interesting I could only remove a few:

Global mobile data traffic grew 2.6-fold in 2010, nearly tripling for the third year in a row. The 2010 mobile data traffic growth rate was higher than anticipated. Last year’s forecast projected that the growth rate would be 149 percent. This year’s estimate is that global mobile data traffic grew 159 percent in 2010.

Last year’s mobile data traffic was three times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. Global mobile data traffic in 2010 (237 petabytes per month) was over three times greater than the total global Internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month).

Mobile network connection speeds doubled in 2010. Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2010 was 215 kilobits per second (kbps), up from 101 kbps in 2009. The average mobile network connection speed for smartphones in 2010 was 1040 kbps, up from 625 kbps in 2009.

Average smartphone usage doubled in 2010. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2010 was 79 MB per month, up from 35 MB per month in 2009.

Smartphones represent only 13 percent of total global handsets in use today, but they represent over 78 percent of total global handset traffic. In 2010, the typical smartphone generated 24 times more mobile data traffic (79 MB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 3.3 MB per month of mobile data traffic).

Android approaches iPhone levels of data use. At the beginning of the year, iPhone consumption was at least 4 times higher than that of any other smartphone platform. Toward the end of the year, iPhone consumption was only 1.75 times higher than that of the second-highest platform, Android.

In 2010, 3 million tablets were connected to the mobile network, and each tablet generated 5 times more traffic than the average smartphone. In 2010, mobile data traffic per tablet was 405 MB per month, compared to 79 MB per month per smartphone.

There were 94 million laptops on the mobile network in 2010, and each laptop generated 22 times more traffic than the average smartphone. Mobile data traffic per laptop was 1.7 GB per month, up 49 percent from 1.1 GB per month in 2009.

Nonsmartphone usage increased 2.2-fold to 3.3 MB per month in 2010, compared to 1.5 MB per month in 2009. Basic handsets still make up the vast majority of devices on the network (87 percent).

There are 48 million people in the world who have mobile phones, even though they do not have electricity at home. The mobile network has extended beyond the boundaries of the power grid.

Cisco’s forecasts for 2015 are even more intriguing.

Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 92 percent from 2010 to 2015, reaching 6.3 exabytes per month by 2015.

There will be nearly one mobile device per capita by 2015. There will be over 7.1 billion mobile-connected devices, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules, in 2015-approximately equal to the world’s population in 2015 (7.2 billion).

Mobile network connection speeds will increase 10-fold by 2015. The average mobile network connection speed (215 kbps in 2010) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 60 percent, and will exceed 2.2 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2015.

Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2015. Mobile video will more than double every year between 2010 and 2015. Mobile video has the highest growth rate of any application category measured within the Cisco VNI forecast at this time.

Mobile-connected tablets will generate as much traffic in 2015 as the entire global mobile network in 2010. The amount of mobile data traffic generated by tablets in 2015 (248 petabytes per month) will be approximately equal to the total amount of global mobile data traffic in 2010 (242 petabytes per month). The same will be true of M2M traffic, which will reach 295 petabytes per month in 2015.

The average smartphone will generate 1.3 GB of traffic per month in 2015, a 16-fold increase over the 2010 average of 79 MB per month. Aggregate smartphone traffic in 2015 will be 47 times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 116 percent.

There will be 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015. The mobile-only Internet population will grow 56-fold from 14 million at the end of 2010 to 788 million by the end of 2015.

The mobile network will break the electricity barrier in more than 4 major regions by 2015. By 2015, 4 major regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East) and 40 countries (including India, Indonesia, and Nigeria) will have more people with mobile network access than with access to electricity at home. The off-grid, on-net population will reach 138 million by 2015.

One of the report’s astonishing findings is the data consumption rate of tablets –five times that of smartphones. As that computing platform gains more adherents, the demand on wireless will only increase. The entire report makes for fascinating reading. If you’ve ever doubted both the reach of mobility and how it is changing the lives of almost the entire population of the planet, put those doubts away.

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