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Cisco: Mobile web grows 26X by 2015

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In 2015, over 5.6 billion mobile devices will stuff the interwebs with 75 exabytes of data, according to a new report by Cisco Systems. That's a 26X bigger load than currently burdens today's already-overcrowded networks.

"The seemingly endless bevy of new mobile devices, combined with greater mobile broadband access, more content, and applications of all types – especially video – are the key catalysts driving this remarkable growth," said Cisco marketing man Suraj Shetty in a canned statement announcing the report (PDF), which was released on Tuesday.

Seventy-five exabytes is one steaming heap of data. Cisco refers to it as being equivalent to "19 billion DVDs or 536 quadrillion SMS text messages." We prefer to divide that number by 140 Twitter characters and see it as representing around 7,142,860,000,000,000 tweets.

Contributing to that 2015 mobile-network load, Cisco says, will be 5.6 billion "personal devices", as well as 1.5 billion device-to-device connections. Sixty-six per cent of that load, Cisco predicts, will be mobile video.

The report notes that today's average mobile hook-up accounts for 65MB of network traffic per month. In 2015, however, that number is projected to rise to 1,118MB.

And in Cisco's Brave New Mobile World, those connections will be zippy. According to data derived from its Global Internet Speed Test (GIST) coupled with company projections, the average smartphone connection speed in 2015 will be 4.4Mbps, up from an average of about 1.4Mbps this year.

Here are a few more data nuggets from the full report, entitled "Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2010–2015":

  • Last year, mobile internet traffic alone was three times that of the entirety of global internet traffic in 2000.
  • This year, video will for the first time account for over half of all mobile internet traffic.
  • Mobile traffic is evening out: today, the top 1 per cent of mobile users account for 20 per cent of all traffic; a year ago, they gobbled up 30 per cent.
  • Internet-connected tablets generate, on average, five times as much traffic as the average smartphone.
  • If you add in device-to-device communications, in 2015 there will be just under one mobile device per human: 7.1 billion devices for the 7.2 billion humans projected by the UN.

More statistical goodies can be found in the report's Executive Summary, or you could dig right into the report itself. ®

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