Thanks to continued growth in the number of mobile phone users, mobile video, 4G networks and the Internet of Things, global mobile data traffic should increase seven-fold from 2016 to 2021, according to a new report.
By 2021, mobile data traffic should represent 20 percent of total IP traffic, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast. That's up from 8 percent of total IP traffic in 2016.
Global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 49 exabytes per month, or 587 exabytes annually, by 2021. That's an annual run rate equivalent to 131 trillion images or to 13 trillion Youtube clips. It's also 122 times more than all global mobile traffic generated in 2011.
The Middle East and Africa are projected to have 12-fold growth in mobile data traffic, while the Asia-Pacific region will see seven-fold growth. Latin America, Western Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe are all forecast to have six-fold growth. North America will have 5-fold growth, the report says.
Mobile video is driving traffic and by 2021 will account for 78 percent of all mobile traffic, the report says. That's an 8.7-fold increase from 2016 to 2021, giving video highest growth rate of any mobile application category. Live mobile video should grow 39-fold from 2016 to 2021 and will represent 5 percent of total mobile video traffic by 2021.
Other drivers include:
The report also forecasts: