By the end of 2013, there will be more smartphones and 3G tablets than people in the world, according to a new research by networking giant Cisco.
Internet-connected mobile devices will explode this year to more than 7 billion, the world’s current population, the company’s recently released forecast said. It has become evident that mobile connectivity is becoming an essential part of people’s daily lives as seen by the growth of tablets and smartphones, which allow users to be connected to the Internet anytime anywhere.
“Mobile data services are well on their way to becoming necessities for many network users. Mobile voice service is already considered a necessity by most, and mobile data, video, and TV services are fast becoming an essential part of consumers’ lives,” the research said.
“Used extensively by consumer as well as enterprise segments, with impressive uptakes in both developed and emerging markets, mobility has proven to be transformational. Mobile subscribers are growing rapidly and bandwidth demand due to data and video is increasing. Mobile M2M connections continue to increase,” it added.
By 2017, Cisco said, the average smartphone will generate 2.7GB of data traffic a month – almost a tenfold growth from today, and one that will put enormous demands on the internet backbone.
The world will also see a boom for internet-connected monitors for “smart metering”, video surveillance, maintenance, building automation, healthcare, and consumer electronics – a class of device known as “machine-to-machine” (M2M) systems which communicate directly to other computers over the internet without the mediation of humans.
The report also enumerated dramatic changes in mobile use:
• Mobile video already makes up more than half of the data transmitted worldwide, the company says – and by 2017 it will make up two-thirds of it.
• The average amount of data consumed by smartphone users rose 81%, from 189MB per month in 2011 to 342MB monthly in 2012.
• Smartphones, which utilize cheap VoIP service apps, consumed 92% of global mobile data traffic, despite only making up 18% of the handsets in use globally. The typical “featurephone” only consumed 6.8MB of data traffic per month – 2% of the amount that the typical smartphone did.
Cisco noted that the sale of Internet-connected mobile devices will be robust in the next few yers and will not be impacted by financial crises.
”The next 5 years are projected to provide unabated mobile video adoption despite uncertain macroeconomic conditions in many parts of the world. Backhaul capacity must increase so mobile broadband, data access, and video services can effectively support consumer usage trends and keep mobile infrastructure costs in check,” it noted.
The fastest growth in data traffic will be in the Middle East and Africa, which will see a 77% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, while the Asia/Pacific region will see 76% CAGR and Latin America 67%, Cisco said.