Mobile video to account for 66% of global mobile data traffic by 2017

Michelle Clancy | 07-02-2013

By 2017, mobile video will represent 66% of global mobile data traffic (up from 51% in 2012), even as worldwide mobile data traffic increases 13-fold over the next four years, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month (for an annual run rate of 134 exabytes) by 2017.

This is according to figures from the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2012-2017, which forecasts a steady increase in mobile traffic partly due to continued strong growth in the number of mobile Internet connections (personal devices and machine-to-machine applications), which will exceed the world's population (7.6 billion) by 2017.
"By 2017, global mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, increasing 13-fold over the next five years, to reach an amount more than 46 times the total amount of mobile IP traffic just a few years ago in 2010," said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider networking marketing at Cisco. "With such dramatic adoption, we are rapidly approaching the time when nearly every network experience will be a mobile one and, more often than not, a visual one as well."
To put the figures into perspective, the forecast's annual run rate of 134 exabytes of mobile data traffic is equivalent to 3 trillion YouTube video clips, or one clip daily from each person on earth over one year.
During the 2012-2017 forecast period, Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outpace global fixed data traffic by a factor of three. By 2017, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (up from 4.3 billion in 2012).
To that end, mobile carriers are deploying 4G technologies worldwide. In many emerging markets, carriers are creating new mobile networks with 4G solutions. In mature markets, carriers are supplementing or replacing legacy (2G/3G) networks with 4G technologies. But the Cisco Mobile VNI study projects that the global migration to 4G will be gradual. By 2017, 2G networks will still support 33% of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 3G networks will support 57%; and 4G networks will support 10%.
However, in 2012 4G connections already accounted for 14% of mobile data traffic ó by 2017, 4G connections will account for 45%. By 2017, 4G traffic will grow 40-fold, a 109% CAGR.
The average mobile connection is expected to increase seven-fold from 2012-2017, driving more uptake for bandwidth-intensive services like video.
The trends are "a result of the seemingly insatiable demand by consumers and businesses alike to achieve the benefits gained when connecting people, data and things in an Internet of Everything," said Webster.