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APAC to drive almost half of global mobile data by 2020

Region will generate 45 percent of the world's mobile data traffic, led by economies such as China, India, and Indonesia.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

The Asia-Pacific region will drive 45 percent of the world's mobile data traffic by 2020, with economies such as China, India, and Indonesia, leading overall growth.

Smart mobile devices and connections also would account for 72 percent of the region's total mobile connections, up from 35 percent in 2015, according to Cisco Systems' latest Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast. Smart devices are defined as those with advanced computing and multimedia capabilities, and support at least 3G connectivity.

The report further noted that the world would be home to 5.5 billion mobile users by 2020, or 70 percent of global population, which was expected to hit 7.8 billion.

The index noted that increasing adoption of mobile devices and demand for mobile content, as well as more expansive mobile coverage, would fuel Asia-Pacific's growth two-fold faster than the global population over the next five years. Smart devices would drive 98 percent of mobile traffic in the region by 2020.

In addition, smartphones would contribute 81 percent of total mobile traffic, up from 76 percent in 2015.

Citing figures from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the Cisco report noted that mobile data usage in the city-state had grown from almost 8 petabytes in 2013 to 10.9 petabytes last year. Furthermore, 98 percent of the country's mobile connections were either 3G or 4G broadband, with users spending an average two hours a day on their mobile device.

Cisco's Singapore and Brunei country manager Ang Thiam Guan said: "The statistics show that mobility powered by fast and efficient connectivity is taking on a central role in the lives of consumers and businesses. As a smart nation, Singapore needs to focus on enhancing and securing its telecommunications infrastructure and mobile technologies to enable citizens to tap into the fullest benefits of mobility."

Doug Webster, Cisco's vice president of service provider marketing, concurred, noting the importance of security as more people connected to the web and mobility became the predominant medium driving digital transformation.

"Future mobile innovations in cellular, such as 5G, and Wi-Fi solutions will be needed to further address new scale requirements, security concerns, and user demands," Webster said. "IoT (Internet of Things) advancements will continue to fuel tangible benefits for people, businesses, and societies."

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