10th Annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Mobile Forecast Projects 70 Percent of Global Population Will Be Mobile Users With 1.5 Connections per Capita by 2020
Growth in Smart Devices, Mobile Video, and 4G Networks to Drive Eight-fold Increase in Mobile Data Traffic Over the Next Five Years

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) -- Since 2000, when the first camera phone was introduced, the number of mobile users has quintupled. By 2020, there will be 5.5 billion mobile users, representing 70 percent of the global population1, according to today's release of the Cisco Visual Networking Index™ (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2015 to 2020). The adoption of mobile devices, increased mobile coverage, and demand for mobile content are driving user growth two times faster than the global population over the next five years. This surge of mobile users, smart devices, mobile video and 4G networks will increase mobile data traffic eight-fold over the next five years.

Smart mobile devices and connections2 are projected to represent 72 percent of total mobile devices and connections by 2020 -- up from 36 percent in 2015. Smart devices are forecasted to generate 98 percent of mobile data traffic by 2020. From an individual device perspective, smartphones are dominating mobile traffic. They will account for 81 percent of total mobile traffic by 2020 -- up from 76 percent in 2015. The proliferation of mobile phones, including "phablets" (a hybrid blend of smartphone and tablet features), is increasing so rapidly that more people will have mobile phones (5.4 billion) than electricity (5.3 billion), running water (3.5 billion) and cars (2.8 billion) by 2020.

Mobile video will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application. Consumer and business users' demand for higher video resolution, more bandwidth, and processing speed will increase the use of 4G connected devices. 4G connectivity share is projected to surpass 2G by 2018 and 3G by 2020. 4G will represent more than 70 percent of all mobile traffic, and 4G connections will generate nearly six times more traffic per month than non-4G connections by 2020.

"With the ever-increasing billions of people and things that are being connected, mobility is the predominant medium that's enabling today's global digitization transformation," said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing, Cisco. "Future mobile innovations in cellular, such as 5G, and Wi-Fi solutions will be needed to further address new scale requirements, security concerns, and user demands. IoT advancements will continue to fuel tangible benefits for people, businesses, and societies."

Mobile Data Traffic Projections and Trends:

Global Mobile Data Traffic Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Mobile Devices and Connections Are Getting Smarter

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Connections and Wearable Devices Continue to Rise M2M refers to applications that enable wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same ability (e.g., GPS/navigation, asset tracking, utility meters, security/surveillance video, healthcare monitoring, et al.). Wearable devices can be worn (e.g., smart watches and health monitors) and communicate to the network either directly via embedded cellular connectivity or through another device (primarily a smartphone) via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. Wearable devices are a subset of the M2M category in the forecast.

Mobile Network Speeds and 4G Connection Growth

Wi-Fi Hotspots Are Growing

Voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) Primed for Growth Given the growth and mobile networking role of Wi-Fi technologies, this year's study again compares VoWi-Fi to other mobile voice services. Previous VoWi-Fi offerings had limitations that affected adoption and end-user experiences. Today's carrier-grade VoWi-Fi services can be delivered to non-SIM devices, such as Wi-Fi-only tablets.

Regional Mobile Data Traffic Growth Rates (2015-2020) 1. The Middle East and Africa (15-fold growth) 2. Asia-Pacific (9-fold growth) 3. Central and Eastern Europe (8-fold growth) 4. Latin America (8-fold growth) 5. Western Europe (6-fold growth) 6. North America (6-fold growth)

Cisco Mobile VNI Forecast Methodology The Cisco® VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2015-2020) relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world mobile data usage studies. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco's own estimates for mobile application adoption, minutes of use and transmission speeds. Key enablers such as mobile broadband speed and device computing power are also factored into Cisco mobile VNI projections and findings. A detailed methodology description is included in the complete report (see link below).

Editor's Notes Cisco also welcomes press, analysts, bloggers, service providers, regulators and other interested parties to use and reference our research with proper attribution, such as "Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2015-2020."

Cisco defines the following terms:

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Additional Supporting Resources

See how the rapid evolution of mobile services to a virtualized cloud environment creates more than $500B in new opportunity by 2019. You can find out more using our Monetization and Optimization Index (MOI). And you can use it to forecast your specific market in cloud, mobile or video services.

Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update Webcast Cisco invites press, analysts and bloggers to attend a webcast featuring Cisco executives talking about the global impact of mobile data traffic growth for service providers, organizations and consumers. The webcast begins at 8:00 a.m. (PST) on February 23 and can be accessed by registering at Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update (2015-2020).

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1 The world's projected population by 2020 will be 7.8 billion people (source: United Nations). 2 Smart devices are defined as connections with advanced computing/multimedia capabilities and a minimum of 3G connectivity.

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