(An exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes or one billion gigabytes.)
The report expected that from 2014 to 2019 global mobile traffic growth will outpace global fixed traffic growth by a factor of three.
Trends driving mobile data traffic growth include:
- More mobile users: By 2019, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (up from 4.3 billion in 2014). In 2014, nearly 59 percent of the world's population (7.2 billion people) was comprised of mobile users; by 2019, more than 69 percent of the world's population (7.6 billion people) will be mobile users.
- More mobile connections: By 2019, there will be approximately 11.5 billion mobile-ready devices/connections, including 8.3 billion personal mobile devices and 3.2 billion M2M connections (up from 7.4 billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2014).
- Faster mobile speeds: Average global mobile network speeds will increase 2.4 fold from 2014 (1.7 Mbps) to 2019 (4.0 Mbps).
- More mobile video: By 2019, mobile video will represent 72 percent of global mobile data traffic (up from 55 percent in 2014).
Wearables and mobile M2M
Other expectations in the report centred on the increase of 4G connectivity, the impact of wearable devices and mobile M2M connections, which could include applications that allow wireless systems to communicate with similar devices to support global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation systems, asset tracking, utility meters, security and surveillance video. [Wearable devices are included as a sub-segment of the M2M connections category to help project the growth trajectory of the Internet of Everything (IoE).]
- The number of wearable devices globally will grow five-fold, reaching 578 million by 2019, up from 109 million in 2014, with the majority of devices anticipated in North America and Asia Pacific.
- This is expected to fuel 18-fold growth in mobile traffic from wearable devices between 2014 and 2019, with most of it channelled through smartphones.
- In 2014, the average wearable device generated 6X more traffic per month than a basic handset (wearables = 141 MBs mobile traffic/month vs. basic handsets = 22 MBs mobile traffic/month).
- As an example of a high-end wearables use case, livestreaming of a GoPro video camera on a cellular network would generate about 5 MB of mobile data traffic per minute.
- In 2014, the average M2M module generated three-times more traffic per month than a basic handset (M2M = 70 MB of mobile traffic/month vs. basic handsets = 22 MB of mobile traffic/month).
Mobile cloud by region
In addition, cloud applications and services such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify, which allow mobile users to overcome the memory capacity and processing power limitations of mobile devices, would lead to continued growth of mobile cloud traffic, according to the report:
- Mobile cloud traffic will grow nearly 11-fold from 2014 (2 exabytes/month) to 2019 (21.8 exabytes/month).
- In 2014, cloud applications accounted for 81 percent of total mobile data traffic; by 2019, cloud applications will account for 90 percent of total mobile data traffic.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.