According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2011 to 2016, South African mobile data traffic will grow 49-fold from 2011 to 2016, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 118%.
The VNI study also projects that in South Africa, mobile data traffic will reach 102, 565 Terabytes (0.1 Exabytes) per month in 2016, the equivalent of 26 million DVDs each month or 283 million text messages each second.
South African highlights include:
- South African mobile data traffic will grow 3 times faster than South African fixed IP traffic from 2011 to 2016. Mobile data traffic will account for 26% of South African fixed and mobile data traffic in 2016, up from 4% in 2011. In 2016 it will be equivalent to 17 times the volume of the entire South African Internet in 2005. Mobile data traffic was 2,090 Terabytes (2 Petabytes) per month in 2011, the equivalent of 1 million DVDs each month or 6 million text messages each second.
- The average smartphone in South Africa generated 43 megabytes of mobile data traffic per month in 2011, up 174% from 16 megabytes per month in 2010, whilst the average laptop generated 527 megabytes of mobile data traffic per month in 2011, up 52% from 347 megabytes per month in 2010. Likewise, the average tablet generated 144 megabytes of mobile data traffic per month in 2011, up from 87 megabytes per month in 2010.
- Business will account for 10% of South Africa’s mobile data traffic in 2016, compared to 43% at the end of 2011 and M2M will account for 24% of business mobile data traffic in 2016, compared to 13% at the end of 2011.
- In South Africa, the average mobile connection speed was 374 kbps in 2011, up 75% from 214 kbps in 2010. Mobile video traffic will grow 91-fold from 2011 to 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 146% and video will be 84% of South Africa’s mobile data traffic in 2016, compared to 45% at the end of 2011. Similarly, mobile gaming traffic will grow 52-fold from 2011 to 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 120%. Furthermore, cloud applications will account for 75% of total mobile data traffic in 2016, compared to 38% at the end of 2011.
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 (2016 world population estimate of 7.3 billion; source: United Nations).
During 2011−2016, Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outgrow global fixed data traffic by three times.
The forecast predicts an annual run rate of 130 exabytes of mobile data traffic, equivalent to:
- 33 billion DVDs.
- 4.3 quadrillion MP3 files (music/audio).
- 813 quadrillion short message service (SMS) text messages.
This mobile data traffic increase represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78 percent spanning the forecast period.
The incremental amount of traffic being added to the mobile Internet between 2015 and 2016 alone is approximately three times the estimated size of the entire mobile Internet in 2012. The following trends are driving these significant increases:
- More Streamed Content: With the consumer expectations increasingly requiring on-demand or streamed content versus simply downloaded content, mobile cloud traffic will increase, growing 28-fold from 2011 to 2016, a CAGR of 95 percent.
- More Mobile Connections: There will be more than 10 billion mobile Internet-connected devices in 2016, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules — exceeding the world’s projected population at that time of 7.3 billion. (One M2M application is the use of wireless networks to update digital billboards. This allows advertisers to display different messages based on time of day or day-of-week and allows quick global changes for messages, such as pricing changes for gasoline).
- Enhanced Computing 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 from 2011 to 2016 — the highest growth rate of any device category tracked in the forecast. The amount of mobile data traffic generated by tablets in 2016 (1 exabyte per month) will be four times the total amount of monthly global mobile data traffic in 2010 (237 petabytes per month).
- Faster Mobile Speeds: Mobile network connection speed is a key enabler for mobile data traffic growth. More speed means 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 and that generally means mobile video, which will comprise 71 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2016.
The Cisco study also projects that 71 percent of all smartphones and tablets (1.6 billion) could be capable of connecting to an Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) mobile network by 2016. From a broader perspective, 39 percent of all global mobile devices (more than 4 billion), could be IPv6-capable by 2016.