The amount of mobile data generated globally is growing very rapidly and shows no sign of abating. This growth is largely driven by smartphones, tablets and connected devices, as well as mobile applications and content. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) has been tracking this for quite some time – the latest update predicts that mobile data traffic will double globally in 2012 and increase by another 78 percent by 2014.
In addition, there is a corresponding worldwide growth in the popularity of Wi-Fi. The number of Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to reach 2.7 million by 2014, with usage growing 200 percent. This growth is inspired by new enabling devices, recent technology improvements, public and private availability, and tiered mobile data plans from service providers.
With this in mind, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading service providers from around the world to develop and evaluate 16 Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment. Opportunities for monetization fall into four broad categories: (1) business effectiveness, (2) end-user services, (3) inter-carrier wholesale, and (4) value-added services.
Over the last few months, a growing consensus has emerged pointing to a dramatic change in the way people access the Internet.
In 2011, for the first time ever, worldwide annual demand for smart phones surpassed that of PCs, laptops and tablets combined. Then last month our Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI) Update reported that global mobile data traffic is growing even faster than previously forecasted and will increase 18-fold over the next five years.
So by this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, the ‘top of mind’ for network operators, government officials and device manufacturers was the dramatic accelerating impact that mobile data consumption will have on Internet access, networks and users.
When we launched the mobile VNI report on February 14, a panel of industry, academia and government experts glimpsed into the future of mobile broadband and related policy issues, with three key takeaways:
A few days before Mobile World Congress, the world’s elite Formula 1 teams tested their cars and skills at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. F-1 racing is a thrilling blend of courage, precision, technology, and teamwork: the same things service providers use to compete in the race to deploy seamless, profitable mobility services.
This year was my first time at Mobile World Congress, and I got a rush from it as if I were driving an F-1. Cisco CEO John Chambers set the pace for the event, saying, “We are now entering the post-macrocell era, where small cells also will play a critical role in delivering the next generation mobile Internet.”
As part of this shift, Cisco extends its M.O.VE reference architecture for service provider mobility with two major announcements at the show. We announced the industry’s first standards-based small cell solution, providing coverage and capacity solutions built off Wi-Fi and Femto technologies. Read More »
The report showed that global mobile Internet traffic is expected to grow 18-fold over the forecast period, reaching 130 exabytes annually by 2016 – the equivalent of 33 billion DVDs going across mobile networks every year.
But what does this significant growth of mobile traffic mean for mobile operators? How will the changing mix of mobile devices and connections (such as smartphones, tablets and M2M) impact their networks, their businesses, and strategic partnerships? We asked some of the industry’s most experienced and knowledgeable independent analysts and consultants to give us their perspectives.
To see the complete report, including global, regional and some country-level forecast projections, go to www.cisco.com/go/vni, and watch a VoD of the February 14, 2012 VNI Mobile event here.