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PRESS RELEASE
By 6 March 2014 | Categories: Press Release

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The Visual Networking Index (VNI) is part of Cisco’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. The company’s most recent report details the expected growth for mobile data traffic over the next five years, with a potentially massive increase for the South African market.

According to Cisco VNI, South Africa’s mobile data traffic will have a compound annual growth of 53% in the next five years and will reach an annual run rate of two Exabytes (two billion gigabytes) by 2018. The projected increase in mobile traffic is partly due to continued strong growth in the number of mobile internet connections, such as personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, which will reach 98 billion by 2018, approximately 1.8 per capita for the country.

Key Mobile Data Traffic Drivers

From 2013 to 2018, Cisco anticipates that mobile traffic growth will be double that of fixed traffic growth in South Africa, with the following trends identified as driving mobile data traffic growth both locally and globally:

  • In South Africa, there will be 40 million mobile users by 2018, up from 38 million in 2013. Globally,there will be 4.9 billion mobile users, up from 4.1 billion in 2013.

  • There will be 98 million mobile-connected devices by 2018, approximately 1.8 per capita for South Africa. The global number will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices/connections by 2018.

  • Video will be 78% of South Africa's mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 50% at the end of 2013. Globally, video will represent 69 % of mobile data traffic in 2018, up from 53% in 2013.

Key South African projections

  • In 2018, M2M modules will represent more than 17% of device connections and 2% of total traffic in South Africa. M2M refers to applications that enable wireless and wired systems to communicate with similar devices to support global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation systems, asset tracking, utility meters, security and surveillance video.

  • The average mobile connection speed will grow 2-fold (17% CAGR) from 2013 to 2018, reaching 1 543 kbps by 2018, from 704 kbps in 2013.

  • 4G will account for 39% of total mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 9% at the end of 2013.

  • By 2018, 4G connections will support 13.8% of all connections, up from 1.1% in 2013.

  • By 2018, 33% of mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi/small cell networks, up from 20% 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. Offloading occurs at the user or device level when one switches from a cell connection to Wi-Fi and small cell access.

With an expected 8-fold growth for South Africa over the next five years, the Middle East and Africa region is projected to have the highest growth rate during the same period, with a compounded annual growth rate of 70%.

As promising as this growth may be, the region will still rank fifth overall for monthly mobile data traffic at 1.49 exabytes per month. Asia-Pacific regions are expected to rank first with 6.72 exabytes per month, it appears South Africa and Africa as a whole are making great strides, but still have some way to go in eclipsing Asia and Pacific nations.

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