Cisco’s VNI report: Africa, Middle East to record highest mobile data traffic globally


A iPhone smartphone user

The latest edition of the Cisco Virtual Network Index (VNI) released recently indicates that Africa and Middle East will have the highest regional mobile data traffic growth rate with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 104 per cent, or 36-fold growth.

The Cisco VNI report, which has projections for global mobile data traffic for 2011 to 2016, states that Asia-Pacific will have an 84 per cent CAGR (or 21-fold growth); Central and Eastern Europe will have an 83 per cent CAGR (or 21-fold growth) with Latin America recording a 79 per cent CAGR (or 18-fold growth) while North America will have a 75 per cent CAGR (or 17-fold growth). Western Europe will have a 68 per cent CAGR or experience a 14-fold growth rate.

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

The expected sharp increase in mobile traffic is due, in part, to a projected surge in the number of mobile internet – connected devices, which will exceed the number of people on earth, going by the 2016 world population projection of 7.3 billion. During the 2011/2016, the Cisco VNI anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outgrow global fixed data traffic by three times.

The Cisco study also projects that 71 per cent of all smartphones and tablets (1.6 billion) could be capable of connecting to an Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) mobile network by 2016 while 39 per cent of all global mobile devices (more than 4 billion), could be IPv6-capable by 2016.

“By 2016, 60 percent of mobile users — 3 billion people worldwide — will belong to the ‘Gigabyte Club,’ each generating more than one gigabyte of mobile data traffic per month. By contrast, in 2011, only one-half percent of mobile users qualified. This impressive growth in mobile traffic will be driven by more powerful devices, notably smartphones and tablets, using faster networks, such as 4G and Wi-Fi, to access more applications, particularly data-intensive video,” said Suraj Shetty, Cisco’s VP for product and solutions marketing in a media release.

The report further notes that the increasing number of wireless devices and nodes accessing mobile networks worldwide is the primary contributor to traffic growth. By 2016, there will be more than 8 billion handheld or personal mobile-ready devices and nearly 2 billion machine-to-machine connections, such as GPS systems in cars, asset tracking systems in shipping and manufacturing sectors and medical applications for making patient records more readily available.

Smartphones, laptops and other portable devices will drive about 90 per cent of global mobile data traffic by 2016, with mobile to mobile (M2M) traffic representing 5 per cent of global mobile data traffic while residential broadband mobile gateways will account for the remaining 5 per cent of global mobile data traffic.