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The Mobile Network for 2017

By Jennifer Cobb

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update is part of the Cisco VNI Forecast, an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications on global networks.

According to the Forecast, mobile data traffic will reach the following milestones within the next five years:

  • Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 10 exabytes in 2017.
  • The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population in 2013.

o   By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. There will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices in 2017, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules-exceeding the world's population at that time (7.6 billion).

  • The average mobile connection speed will surpass 1 Mbps in 2014.

o   Mobile network connection speeds will increase 7-fold by 2017. The average mobile network connection speed (526 kbps in 2012) will exceed 3.9 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2017.

  • Due to increased usage on smartphones, handsets will exceed 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.

o   The average smartphone will generate 2.7 GB of traffic per month in 2017, an 8-fold increase over the 2012 average of 342 MB per month. Aggregate smartphone traffic in 2017 will be 19 times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 81 percent.

  • Monthly mobile tablet traffic will surpass 1 exabyte per month in 2017.

o   The amount of mobile data traffic generated by tablets in 2017 (1.3 exabytes per month) will be 1.5 times higher than the total amount of global mobile data traffic in 2012 (885 petabytes per month).

  • Tablets will exceed 10 percent of global mobile data traffic in 2015.

o   Mobile-connected tablets will generate more traffic in 2017 than the entire global mobile network in 2012. 


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