Today, Cisco released its latest Visual Networking Index (VNI) Mobile Forecast, 2012-2017. This annual study provides lots of interesting data, new growth projections, and our perspectives on key trends that are shaping the future of mobile networks and user behavior. While many ardent forecast aficionados may be eager to delve into the 34-page white paper, we recognize that others simply want us to “net it out.”

So if you’re time-challenged (or just prefer shortcuts), here are just a few figures and findings to help you expeditiously grasp some key takeaways from this year’s report.


Multiplying Devices and Connections

By 2017, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices and M2M connections, up from 7 billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2012.

Bottom-line: Mobile devices and connections are growing 3.5 times faster than the people that use them.

Broadening Device/Connection Diversification

  • Laptops will drive 14% of total mobile data traffic by 2017, down from 46% in 2012.
  • Smartphones will drive 68% of total mobile data traffic by 2017, up from 44% in 2012.
  • Tablets will drive 12% of total mobile data traffic by 2017, up from 1% in 2012.
  • M2M modules will drive 5% of total mobile data traffic by 2017, up from 3% in 2012.

Bottom-line: Smartphones are replacing laptops as the top device in terms of mobile data traffic generation.

Growing 4G Impact

By 2017, 4G networks will support 10% of global mobile devices/M2M connections (up from 1% in 2012) and drive 45% of global mobile data traffic (up from 14% in 2012).

Bottom-line: It’s safe to assume that more powerful devices running on faster mobile networks will drive more traffic—this quantifies the projected impact of that combination.

And to help illustrate how advanced mobile applications running on next-generation devices and networks can change the mobile landscape, we developed the infographic (to the right).
To see the complete mobile report and the online tools that we’ve created to enable you to see global, regional and some country-level forecast projections, go to www.cisco.com/go/vni. We sincerely hope that our work can help your business, technical, or academic efforts related to wireless networking.

Thanks as always for reading.


Thomas Barnett, Jr.

Director, SP Thought Leadership

Worldwide Service Provider Marketing Group