Surge in SA mobile data traffic

Mobile data traffic in South Africa is forecast to grow 8-fold over the next four years, at a compound annual growth rate of 53%, according to networking technology firm, Cisco.

Global broadband speeds will reach 42 Mbps by 2018, up from 16 Mbps at the end of 2013, Cisco said.

According to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Forecast and Service Adoption for 2013 to 2018, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region continues to be the fastest-growing IP traffic region showing a 38% CAGR over the next four years.

South Africa Highlights:

  • IP traffic will grow 4-fold from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 34%;
  • IP video traffic will grow 6-fold from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 44%;
  • Internet video traffic will grow 6-fold from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 44%;
  • HD will be 10.1% of IP Video traffic in 2018, up from 2.8% in 2013 (85.5% CAGR);
  • There will be 147.7 million networked devices in 2018, up from 92.4 million in 2013;
  • Fixed/Wi-Fi was 51% of total IP traffic in 2013, and will be 65% of total IP traffic in 2018;
  • 762,885 Internet households (21.7% of all Internet households) generating more than 100 gigabytes per month in 2018, up from 116,242 in 2013.


Globally, Cisco said that the composition of IP traffic will shift dramatically in the coming years. By 2018, the majority of traffic will originate from devices other than personal computers (PCs) for the first time.

Wi-Fi traffic will exceed wired traffic for the first time, and high-definition (HD) video will generate more traffic than standard-definition video, it said.

Mobile and portable devices other than PCs will drive the majority of traffic by 2018.

In 2013, 33% of IP traffic originated with non-PC devices. However, by 2018, the non-PC share of IP traffic will grow to 57%.

Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 76% of Internet traffic by 2018.

Wi-Fi will be 61%, and cellular will be 15%. Fixed traffic will be only 24% of total Internet traffic by 2018.

Online video, meanwhile, will be the fastest-growing residential internet service growing from 1.2 billion users to 1.9 billion users by 2018, Cisco said.

World Cup 2014

Video streaming and IP broadcast of the 2014 edition of the FIFA World Cup is anticipated to generate 4.3 exabytes of Internet traffic – three times the amount of monthly traffic generated by the tournament’s hosts, Brazil.

In addition, Cisco said that Internet traffic generated by the 60,000 people in a stadium and traveling to games is forecast to surpass the average busy-hour traffic from all 94 million smartphones in Brazil.

To place the World Cup in context, global IP traffic is expected to reach 132 exabytes per month by 2018, which is the equivalent to:

  • 8.8 billion screens streaming the FIFA World Cup final game in Ultra-HD/4K at the same time;
  • 5.5 billion people binge-watching “Game of Thrones” Season 4 via video-on-demand in HD or 1.5 billion watching in Ultra-HD/4K;
  • The season 3 premier of “House of Cards” streaming in Ultra-HD/4K on 24 billion screens at the same time;
  • 940 quadrillion text messages; and
  • 4.5 trillion YouTube clips.

More on the Internet in South Africa

 SA Internet traffic set to quadruple: Cisco

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South Africa’s Internet to GDP ratio

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Surge in SA mobile data traffic