The number of mobile devices will exceed the global population for the first time in 2013 as worldwide mobile use grows significantly, according to the latest research by Cisco.
Cisco also expects mobile data traffic to increase 13-fold by 2017, when there will be nearly 1.4 mobile-connected devices in existence per capita, with a total of 10 billion mobile devices exceeding the 2017 global population forecast of 7.6 billion people.
Globally speaking, the Cisco report forecasts that the Middle East and Africa region will experience the strongest mobile data traffic growth over the coming five years, with a predicted 77 percent compound annual growth rate.
Of the total mobile data growth, mobile-connected tablets will produce 1.3 exabytes of traffic per month – 1.5 times the total global mobile traffic experienced in 2012.
The traffic from 4G connections will also rise significantly, with the report claiming that while 10 percent of connections will be 4G by 2017, 45 percent of all traffic will originate from 4G connections, generating roughly eight times more traffic than a non-4G connection.
Meanwhile, the type of prevalent mobile data traffic will transform, with the Cisco report predicting that over 66 percent of mobile data will be in the form of video by 2017, marking a 16-fold increase over the next five years.
The speed of mobile internet connections is also set to rise substantially over the coming five years, with the report claiming that the average mobile network connection speed will exceed 3.9 megabits per second in 2017, up from the current speed of 526 kilobits per second – a seven-fold increase overall.
A number of statistics are also revealed as to the past year’s trends.
In 2012, global mobile data traffic grew by 70 percent – reaching 885 petabytes per month – although the figure varied regionally, with Europe in particular experiencing a slowing in mobile data traffic, while the Asia Pacific region saw a mobile data traffic boom, displaying growth of 95 percent over the year.
Mobile network connection speeds in 2012 doubled as compared to 2011 figures, both for smartphones and tablets.
Although smartphone usage grew by 81 percent over the year, smartphones still remain a minority device globally speaking. Non-smartphones accounted for 82 percent of mobile phones in 2012, and non-smartphone usage increasing 35 percent to 6.5 MB monthly. As such, while smartphones accounted for only 18 per cent of global handsets in use, they also accounted for 92 percent of handset traffic produced.