Fast and getting faster: Why mobile data traffic will explode in KSA over next 4 years
By 2018, Saudi Arabia's mobile data traffic is expected to reach the equivalent of 469 million text messages each second (File Archive)
In Saudi Arabia, mobile data traffic will grow 11-fold from 2013 to 2018, the “Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018” study revealed.
Across Middle East and Africa (MEA), mobile data traffic growth is being driven by the world’s-fastest uptake of Internet Protocol version 6 (Ipv6) -capable smartphones and tablets, with a CAGR of 35 percent, rising from 133 million in 2013 to almost 598 million in 2018. In the region, smart wearable devices like watches, glasses, and fitness trackers are also slated to post strong growth from 700,000 in 2013 to 8 million in 2018.
“As our personal and business lives become increasingly mobile, MEA is really coming to the fore as early, widespread adopters of the latest smartphone and wearable technology. Driven by one of the most tech-receptive and youthful populations on the planet, this is a region that is now extremely well-placed to lead technological innovation in all aspects of daily life and business, leveraging the emerging power of the ‘Internet of Everything’ and faster mobile data networks,” said Tarig Enaya, Managing Director of Cisco Saudi Arabia.
The study forecast that in Saudi Arabia, mobile data traffic will reach 170.3 Petabytes per month by 2018, the equivalent of 43 million DVDs each month or 469 million text messages each second. Moreover, it noted that:
• 82 percent of mobile connections will be ‘smart’ connections by 2018, up from 48 percent in 2013.
• 98 percent of mobile data traffic will be ‘smart’ traffic by 2018, up from 92 percent in 2013.
• Business will account for 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 16 percent at the end of 2013.
• Mobile video traffic will grow 16-fold from 2013 to 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 74 percent.
• Video will be 76 percent of Saudi Arabia’s mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 50 percent at the end of 2013.
• Consumer will account for 85 percent of Saudi Arabia’s mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 84 percent at the end of 2013.
Furthermore, the study noted that mobile data traffic growth around the world is driven by four trends: Mobile users growing from 4.1 billion in 2013 to 4.9 billion in 2018, mobile Internet connections growing from 7 billion in 2013 to 10 billion in 2018, mobile video growing from 59 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013 to 69 percent in 2018, and mobile speeds nearly doubling from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps in 2018.
Global machine-to-machine connections, which use wired and Wi-Fi systems to communicate with devices, will grow from 5 percent of mobile-connected devices and 1 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013, to 20 percent of mobile-connected devices and 6 percent of mobile data traffic in 2018.
By the end of 2014, the number of global mobile-connected devices will be more than the number of people in the world, and by 2018 there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices and nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita, according to the report.
On all of these mobile-connected devices, people are also increasingly watching mobile video, with global traffic growing 14-fold from 2013 to 2018, and will represent 69 percent of total mobile traffic in 2018.
Declining in mobile traffic from 2013 to 2018 will be web and data applications (28 to 17 percent), streaming audio (14 to 11 percent), and file sharing (four to three percent).
Supporting the increase in mobile data traffic, communications companies are deploying ultrafast 4G mobile networks, and off-loading mobile data onto Wi-Fi or small cell networks. In MEA, 4G connections will grow from 3.6 million in 2013 to 86.6 million in 2018. Global mobile traffic offloaded will grow from 45 percent in 2013 to 52 percent in 2018.
“In MEA, mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, which is indicative of mobility becoming a critical characteristic of almost every network experience, and the value consumers and businesses place on it. It is also representative of the immense opportunities ahead for service providers who sit at the center of the Internet of Everything,” Enaya added.
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