Cisco Report Notes Mobile Traffic Up 70 Percent Reaching 885 Petabytes Per Month

A new report conducted by Cisco underscores the magnitude of the mobile movement we currently find ourselves in. With everyone toting smartphones, tablets, phablets, and even Ultrabooks and ultra-thins, mobile traffic is exploding, having grown 70 percent in 2012. On a global scale, mobile users accounted for 885 petabytes of data traffic in December 2012, up from 520 petabytes per month at the end of 2011.

That's nearly twelve times the total global Internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month). Mobile video traffic accounted for just over half at 51 percent, made possible by the fact that mobile network connection speeds more than doubled in 2012, Cisco says.

Wi-Fi Hotspot
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"Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2012 was 526 kilobits per second (kbps), up from 248 kbps in 2011. The average mobile network connection speed for smartphones in 2012 was 2,064 kbps, up from 1,211 kbps in 2011. The average mobile network connection speed for tablets in 2012 was 3,683 kbps, up from 2,030 kbps in 2011," Cisco stated in its report.

It should come as no surprise that faster connections lead to higher Internet usage. To wit, a 4G connection generated 19 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection in 2012. And even though 4G connections represent a minute 0.9 percent of mobile connections today, they already account for 14 percent of mobile data traffic, Cisco notes.

Smartphone Internet
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How will the mobile landscape look within the next five years? Here are Cisco's predictions:
  • Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 10 exabytes in 2017.
  • The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population in 2013.
  • The average mobile connection speed will surpass 1Mbps in 2014.
  • Due to increased usage on smartphones, handsets will exceed 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.
  • Monthly mobile tablet traffic will surpass 1 exabyte per month in 2017.
  • Tablets will exceed 10 percent of global mobile data traffic in 2015.

Pretty mind boggling, isn't it?