As mobile data consumption continues to surge globally, mobile data traffic is expected to increase nearly tenfold between 2014 and 2019.
In its annual Mobility Report, Ericsson forecasts that mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57% from 2014 to 2019, reaching an incredible 24.3 exabytes per month by 2019 (an exabyte is a billion billion bytes, or a billion gigabytes). The Middle East and Africa is projected to have the largest mobile data traffic growth with a 72% CAGR, followed by Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America with a 71% and 59% CAGR respectively.
Furthermore, Ericsson’s report highlights the importance of deploying 5G networks to overcome the challenges of rising mobile traffic. However, full-scale implementation of 5G is not envisaged until 2020.
Milestones through 2020
The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update also projects the following:
2015 to 2017
- More than half of the total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell (a small, low-power cellular base station) in 2015.
- 4G traffic will account for more than half of the total mobile traffic this year.
- The average global mobile connection speed will exceed 3 Mbps by 2017.
- Worldwide mobile data traffic will be 30.6 exabytes per month.
- Mobile-connected devices per capita will reach 1.5.
- Almost half of the global devices and connections will be smartphones.
- Smartphone usage continues to climb and this means that smartphones will cross 80% of mobile data traffic.
- Monthly mobile tablet traffic will exceed 2.0 exabytes per month.
- 4G connections will have 40.5% of total mobile connections.
- Three quarters of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2020.
The effect of connected car infotainment on data traffic
A recent study conducted by Juniper Research reveals that connected car infotainment and telematics services will be responsible for 98% of machine-to-machine (M2M) data traffic by 2021. In-vehicle infotainment Services, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, are predicted to generate vast amounts of new cellular M2M data traffic over the next five years.
Society is becoming more and more connected and this means that data traffic will experience astounding growth over the next few years. Operators will therefore have to ensure that its networks can manage the projected increases in data traffic, particularly in urban areas.