By 14 February 2012 | Categories: news


There have already been reports regarding the development and increased demand for Wi-Fi connectivity during 2012. Now Cisco’s visual networking index (VNI) global mobile data traffic forecast for 2011 to 2016, takes a look at developments within the mobile data sector over the next five years.

According to the company, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase by a staggering 18 fold over the next five years, reaching 10.8 exabytes per month or an annual run rate of 130 exabytes by 2016.

An exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion (one billion billion) bytes. This predicted annual mobile data traffic run rate of 130 exabytes is equivalent to the info that can be stored on 33 billion DVDs, 4.3 quadrillion (one thousand million million) MP3 files or 813 quadrillion short message service (SMS’s) text messages.

Mobile web-connected devices to outnumber humans by 2016

Between 2011 and 2016, Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outgrow global fixed data traffic by three times. According to the company smartphones, notebooks and other portable devices will be responsible for about 90% of global mobile data traffic during 2016.

Cisco said that the trends driving these significant data traffic increases are:
  • More streamed content: Consumers are increasingly requiring on-demand or streamed content, as opposed to simply having access to downloadable content. Mobile cloud traffic will grow by 28 times between 2011 and 2016.
  • More mobile connections: There will be over ten billion mobile internet-connected devices in 2016, exceeding the world’s projected population for that period.
  • Enhanced computing power of devices: Mobile devices are becoming more powerful and thus able to consume and generate more data traffic. Tablets are a prime example of this trend generating traffic levels that will grow 62 fold between 2011 and 2016, the highest growth rate of any device category tracked in this forecast. The amount of mobile data traffic generated by tablets in 2016 (one exabyte per month) will be four times the total amount of monthly global mobile data traffic experienced during 2010. The figure for that year was 237 petabytes (one petabyte is a thousand terabyte or a million GB) per month.
  • Faster mobile speeds: Mobile network connection speed is a key enabler for mobile data traffic growth. More speed leads to more consumption and Cisco projects mobile speeds (including 2G, 3G and 4G networks) to increase nine-fold from 2011 to 2016.
  • More mobile video: Mobile users want the best experiences they can have, which will comprise the majority (71%) of all mobile data traffic by 2016.

In other related market research news, PwC recently analysed trends within the local and global gaming industry.


Magazine Online is South Africa's leading magazine for tech product reviews, tech news, videos, tech specs and gadgets.
Start reading now >
Download latest issue

Have Your Say

What new tech or developments are you most anticipating this year?
New smartphone announcements (19 votes)
Technological breakthroughs (16 votes)
Launch of new consoles, or notebooks (10 votes)
Innovative Artificial Intelligence solutions (12 votes)
Biotechnology or medical advancements (18 votes)
Better business applications (86 votes)