According to the Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, annual global mobile data traffic will reach almost one zettabyte by the end of 2022. A zettabyte equals 1 trillion gigabytes of data.
Mobile data traffic has grown 17-fold over the past 5 years, the study found, and it projects mobile traffic will account for 20% of all global IP traffic by 2022, up from just 5% ten years ago.
The latest update is part of the comprehensive Cisco VNI Forecast, and the report presents some of the major global mobile data traffic projections and growth trends.
“The number of mobile subscribers has grown rapidly, and bandwidth demand for data and video content continues to increase,” the report states. “The next 5 years are projected to provide unabated mobile video adoption.”
The average global smartphone connection speed will surpass 40 Mbps by 2022, with smartphones surpassing 90% of mobile data traffic by then. Smartphones and phablets will continue to dominate mobile traffic (93%), in spite of an expected 54% share of total devices and connections. A further slowdown expected in the growth of tablets as well as laptops and a more rapid decline in non-smartphones and other portables.
Interestingly, the report found that data usage per-user for iOS mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) has surpassed that of Android mobile devices. By the end of August 2018, average iOS consumption exceeded average Android consumption in North America, where iOS usage was 9.1 GB per month and Android was 8.6 GB per month.
By 2022, 4G speeds is predicted to be nearly double than that of an average mobile connection. Average 5G speeds will increase from 76 Mbps in 2019 to 170 Mbps by 2022. Nevertheless, 5G is expected to be in its infancy by 2022, and globally, 5G connections will be 3.4% of total mobile connections.
As mobile speeds continue to increase dramatically, so follows consumption of video content. Compared to just 59% in 2017, nearly four-fifths (79%) of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2022.
The largest growth will be witnessed in the Asia Pacific region, which will account for 56% of global mobile traffic by 2022. Once the region with the largest traffic share, North America will have only the fourth-largest share by 2022, having been surpassed by Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa.
According to the report, smart traffic is going to grow from 92% of the total global mobile traffic to 99% by 2022. This percentage is significantly higher than the ratio of smart devices and connections (73% by 2022), because on average a smart device generates much higher traffic than a non-smart device.
Globally, in 2017, a smart device generated 10 times more traffic than a non-smart device, and by 2022 a smart device will generate 15 times more traffic. The figure below shows the impact of the growth of mobile smart devices and connections on global traffic.
Mobile data traffic is also expected to reach the following milestones by 2022:
- Monthly global mobile data traffic will be 77 exabytes (77 billion gigabytes).
- The number of mobile-connected devices per capita will reach 1.5.
- 4G connections will have the highest share (54%) of total mobile connections.
- 4G traffic will be more than seven-tenths (71%) of the total mobile traffic.
- 5G traffic will be more than ten percent (12%) of the total mobile traffic.