Cisco this week released its annual Visual Networking Index for mobile data, and in the period covering 2013 to 2018 the expectation is for an 11x increase in mobile traffic. The Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for mobile traffic will grow by 61 percent between 2013 and 2018 – up to a staggering 190 Exabytes a year in 2018 with 18 exabytes of mobile data transferred every month.
While the volume of mobile data is growing rapidly, the number of actual human mobile users isn’t on quite the same trajectory. Cisco estimates that in 2013 there were 4.1 billion mobile users, which will rise to 4.9 billion by 2018.
That said, Cisco notes that the number of devices consuming mobile data will surpass 10 billion by 2018. Of those devices 8 billion will will be consumer devices and the other 2 billion will be machine to machine connections, though consumer devices will generate more traffic. By 2018, Consumer devices including tablets, smartphone and laptops will generate 94 percent of all mobile traffic.