- More people will have mobile phones (5.4B) than electricity (5.3B), running water (3.5B) and cars (2.8B) by 2020.
- By 2020, over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video, making this category the highest growth rate of any mobile application.
- By 2020, 4G connections will account for 72% of total mobile data traffic—up from 47% of total mobile data traffic in 2015.
- By 2020, the average mobile connection speed will increase 3.2-fold, from 2.0 Mbps in 2015 to 6.5 Mbps by 2020.
These and many other insights are from Cisco Systems’ (NASDAQ: CSCO) Cisco Visual Networking Index™ (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2015 to 2020). Cisco’s methodology includes independent analyst forecasts and real-world mobile data usage studies BASED ON Cisco’s internal assessments and projections of mobile application adoption, minutes of use and transmission speeds. Key enablers such as mobile broadband speed and device computing power are also factored into Cisco Mobile VNI projections and findings. For a detailed explanation of the methodology, please see page 37 of the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2015–2020 White Paper (PDF, no opt-in, 39 pp). The online summary of the white paper is here.
Key takeaways from Cisco’s latest forecast include the following:
- Cisco’s key mobile momentum metrics used in creating their global mobile data traffic forecast include tracking mobile user growth, mobile connections, mobile speeds and greater use of mobile video.The following graphic below provides a summary of market projections by mobile momentum metrics. Faster mobile speeds and more mobile video are two areas experiencing the fastest growth through 2020.
- Global mobile data traffic growth is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 53% from 2015 to 2020.Cisco found that in 2015, 3.7 (EB) Exabytes of data per month were used in 2015, with 30.6 EB per month projected for 2020. This represents an 8-fold increase from 2015 to 2020.
- Smartphones/Phablets will continue dominating mobile data traffic while M2M (Machine-to-Machine) will gain share by 2020. Cisco predicts that global mobile devices increase from 76% to 81% in the forecast period, with the biggest percentage gain projected from M2M, increasing from 3% in 2015 top 7% in 2020.
- Global mobile users will grow from 65% (4.8B) in 2015 to 70% (5.5B) of the world’s population by 2020. The Middle East & Africa leads all global regions with a 4.4% CAGR through 2020, followed by Asia-Pacific with 3% growth and Latin America with 1.6%. The following graphic breaks out mobile growth between 2015 and 2020 along with CAGRs. Cisco also found that average mobile speed will more than triple from 2.0 Mbps (2015) to 6.5 Mbps (2020).
- Smart mobile devices and connections are projected to represent 72% of total mobile devices and connections by 2020—up from 36% in 2015. Smart devices are also forecasted to generate 98% of mobile data traffic by 2020. Cisco also found that from the individual device standpoint, smartphones will be 81% of global mobile traffic by 2020, increasing from 76% in 2015.
- By 2020, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections will represent 26.4% of mobile-connected devices—up from 7.7% in 2015. M2M refers to applications that enable wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same ability. Examples include GPS/navigation, asset tracking, utility meters, security/surveillance video, healthcare monitoring, and the myriad of devices included in the Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco forecasts that M2M connections will generate 6.7% of total mobile traffic—up from 2.7% in 2015.