Mobile’s smart revolution

Globally, 54% of mobile connections will be “smart” connections by 2018, up from 21% in 2013, according to new research from technology group Cisco.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018, smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive about 94% of global mobile data traffic by 2018.

M2M traffic will represent 5% of 2018 global mobile data traffic while basic handsets will account for 1% of global mobile data traffic by 2018. Other portables will account for 0.1%.

Mobile cloud traffic will grow 12-fold from 2013 to 2018, a 64% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), Cisco said.

4G traffic growth

In many emerging markets, service providers are creating new mobile infrastructures with 4G solutions, Cisco said.

In some mature markets, service providers are supplementing or replacing legacy 2G or 3G solutions with 4G technologies.

  • By 2018, 4G connections will support 15% of all connections, up from 2.9%in 2013.
  • By 2018, 4G connections will support 51%, or 8 exabytes per month, of total mobile data traffic, up from 30%, or 448 petabytes per month, in 2013.
  • 4G traffic will grow 18-fold from 2013 to 2018, a 78% CAGR.

Video remains on top

Mobile video traffic will increase 14-fold from 2013 to 2018 and will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application category, Cisco said.

  • By 2018, mobile video will be 69% of global mobile traffic, up from 53% in 2013.
  • By 2018, web and other data applications will be 17% of global mobile traffic, down from 28% in 2013.
  • By 2018, streaming audio will be 11% of global mobile traffic, down from 14% in 2013.
  • By 2018, file sharing will be three percent of global mobile traffic, down from four percent in 2013.

Wi-Fi 

More mobile data traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi from mobile-connected devices (17.3 exabytes per month) than will remain on mobile networks by 2018 (15.9 exabytes per month), Cisco said.

By 2018, 52% of global mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi/small cell networks, up from 45% in 2013.

“Offload” refers to traffic from dual mode devices and supports cell and Wi-Fi connectivity, excluding laptops) over Wi-Fi and small cell networks.

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Mobile’s smart revolution