Cisco Study Shows 150 Per Cent Mobile Data Growth

Cisco has released its Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update. It forms part of the comprehensive Cisco VNI Forecast, an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications on global networks.

The study relies in part upon data published by a number of analysts, including Informa Telecoms and Media, Strategy Analytics, Infonetics, Datamonitor, Gartner, IDC, Dell’Oro, Synergy, Nielsen, comScore, and the

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). It is a treasure trove of stats relating to mobile data usage, so without further ado, allow us to share them with you…

The study reveals that global mobile data traffic more than doubled in 2010, growing by 159 per cent, against a projected growth rate of 149 per cent. Last years mobile data traffic was three times the size of the entire global internet in 2000. Global mobile data traffic in 2010, which amounted to 237 petabytes per month, was over three times greater than the total global Internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month).

(This growth rate is higher than the doubling of mobile internet traffic we reported yesterday, based on a report from Futuresource. Its possible that the remit of the Futursource report is not as wide as Ciscos – mobile internet as opposed to mobile data, a point on which we are currently seeking clarification from Futuresource – Ed.)

Mobile video traffic will exceed 50 per cent of total mobile data traffic for the first time in 2011. It accounted for 49.8 per cent of total mobile data traffic at the end of 2010, and will account for 52.8 per cent of traffic by the end of 2011.
Mobile network connection speeds doubled in 2010. Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2010 was 215 kilobits per second (kbps), up from 101kbps in 2009. The average mobile network connection speed for smartphones in 2010 was 1040kbps, up from 625kbps in 2009.

The top 1 per cent of mobile data subscribers generate over 20 per cent of mobile data traffic, down from 30 per cent 1 year ago. According to a mobile data usage study conducted by Cisco, mobile data traffic has evened out over the last year, and now matches the 1:20 ratio that has been true of fixed networks for several years. Similarly, the top 10 per cent of mobile data subscribers now generate approximately 60 per cent of mobile data traffic, down from 70 per cent at the beginning of the year.

Average smartphone usage doubled in 2010. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2010 was 79MB per month, up from 35MB per month in 2009. And while smartphones represent only 13 per cent of total global handsets in use today, they are responsible for over 78 per cent of total global handset traffic. In 2010, the typical smartphone generated 24 times more mobile data traffic (79MB per month) than the typical feature phone, which generated only 3.3MB per month of mobile data traffic).

Globally, 31 per cent of smartphone traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through dual-mode or femtocell in 2010, equating to 14.3 petabytes of smartphone and tablet traffic each month. Without offload, traffic originating from smartphones and tablets would have been 51 petabytes per month rather than 37 petabytes per month in 2010.
Android handsets are approaching iPhone levels of data usage. At the beginning of the year, iPhone consumption was at least four times higher than that of any other smartphone platform. Toward the end of the year, iPhone consumption was only 1.75 times higher than that of the second-highest platform, Android.
In 2010, 3m tablets were connected to the mobile network, and each tablet generated 5 times more traffic than the average smartphone. In 2010, mobile data traffic per tablet was 405MB per month, compared to 79MB per month per smartphone.

There were 94m laptops on the mobile network in 2010, and each laptop generated 22 times more traffic than the average smartphone. Mobile data traffic per laptop was 1.7GB per month, up 49 per cent from 1.1GB per month in 2009.
Non-smartphone usage increased 2.2-fold to 3.3MB per month in 2010, compared to 1.5MB per month in 2009. Basic handsets still make up the vast majority (87 per cent) of devices on the network.

Finally, the report points out, there are 48 million people in the world who have mobile phones, even though they do not have electricity at home. The report then goes on to forecast future mobile data usage. We’ll cover that in a separate post shortly.