SA set for 4G explosion and 14 other mindblowing mobile stats


Between the country’s largest network announcing plans to hike voice and data rates and finding out that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be bafflingly expensive, there hasn’t been much for South African mobile users to celebrate of late. They may however take a little solace in the prediction that they’re a lot more likely to have 4G coverage in the next five years.

According to Cisco, the ongoing adoption of more powerful devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections may see 3G surpassing 2G as the top cellular technology, based on connection share, by 2016. 4G will meanwhile account for 56.1% of total mobile data traffic in South Africa by 2019, compared to 15.7% at the end of 2014.

The forecast also predicts that Wi-Fi data offloading — the use of complementary network technologies for delivering data originally targeted for cellular networks globally — is expected to surpass that of cellular traffic. The amount of traffic offloaded from 4G will be 46% by 2019, compared to 40% at the end of 2014. Traffic offloaded from 3G will go up to 42% from 35% in the same time period. Whilst traffic offloaded from 2G will be 42 percent compared to 37% at the end of 2014.

“The increasing demand for network mobility and the emergence of 4G are among the key trends highlighted in this year’s forecast that represent significant opportunities for service providers today and in the immediate future. The challenge is not about getting Wi-Fi facilities to South African citizens but rather about ensuring that high speed internet is available not only in homes and offices but also public places like shopping centres. The findings highlight that service providers in South Africa have immense opportunities to innovatively deliver a variety of mobile services and experiences to consumers and business users as the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to take shape,” says Vernon Thaver, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco in South Africa.

Those numbers are however dwarfed by the ones which have come out of Cisco’s global research.

For instance, last year’s mobile data traffic was nearly 30 times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. One exabyte of traffic traversed the global Internet in 2000, and in 2014 mobile networks carried nearly 30 exabytes of traffic.

Mobile video traffic meanwhile exceeded 50% of total mobile data traffic for the first time in 2012. Mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of 2012 and grew to 55% by the end of 2014.

Here are x other stats that will blow your mind:

1. Global mobile data traffic grew 69% in 2014

Global mobile data traffic reached 2.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2014, up from 1.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2013.

2. Almost half a billion (497 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2014

Global mobile devices and connections in 2014 grew to 7.4 billion, up from 6.9 billion in 2013. Smartphones accounted for 88 percent of that growth, with 439 million net additions in 2014.

Globally, smart devices represented 26 percent of the total mobile devices and connections in 2014; they accounted for 88 percent of the mobile data traffic. (For the purposes of this study, smart devices refers to mobile connections that have advanced multi-media/computing capabilities with a minimum of 3G connectivity.) In 2014, on an average, a smart device generated 22 times more traffic than a non-smart device.

3. Mobile network (cellular) connection speeds grew 20% in 2014

Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2014 was 1,683 kilobits per second (kbps), up from 1,387 kbps in 2013.

4. In 2014, a fourth-generation (4G) connection generated 10 times more traffic on average than a non‑4G connection

Although 4G connections represent only 6 percent of mobile connections today, they already account for 40% of mobile data traffic.

5. The top one percent of mobile data subscribers generated 18 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 52% at the beginning of 2010

According to a mobile data usage study conducted by Cisco, the top 20 percent of mobile users generated 85 percent of mobile data traffic, and the top 1 percent generated 18 percent.

6. Average smartphone usage grew 45% in 2014

The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2014 was 819 MB per month, up from 563 MB per month in 2013.

7. Smartphones represented only 29% of total global handsets in use in 2014, but represented 69% of total global handset traffic

In 2014, the typical smartphone generated 37 times more mobile data traffic (819 MB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 22 MB per month of mobile data traffic).

8. Globally, there were nearly 109 million wearable devices (a sub-segment of the machine-to-machine [M2M] category) in 2014 generating 15 petabytes of monthly traffic

9. Globally, 46% of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell in 2014

In 2014, 2.2 exabytes of mobile data traffic were offloaded onto the fixed network each month. Without offload, mobile data traffic would have grown 84 percent rather than 69 percent in 2014.

10. Per-user iOS mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) data usage marginally surpassed that of Android mobile devices data usage

By the end of 2014, average iOS consumption exceeded average Android consumption in North America and Western Europe.

11. In 2014, 27% of mobile devices were potentially IPv6-capable

This estimate is based on network connection speed and OS capability.

12. In 2014, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 1.6-fold to 74 million, and each tablet generated 2.5 times more traffic than the average smartphone

In 2014, mobile data traffic per tablet was 2,076 MB per month, compared to 819 MB per month per smartphone.

13. There were 189 million laptops on the mobile network in 2014, and each laptop generated 3.2 times more traffic than the average smartphone

Mobile data traffic per laptop was 2.6 GB per month in 2014.

14. Average nonsmartphone usage doubled to 22 MB per month in 2014, compared to 11 MB per month in 2013

Basic handsets still make up the vast majority of handsets on the network (68%).



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