The annual Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Forecast, just out, once again shows the phenomenal growth expected in the mobile industry, e.g. more than 5.2 billion global mobile users by 2019 and 10-fold mobile traffic growth over the next five years. See Thomas Barnett’s blog to learn more.
For me the interest is to look into the APAC specific trends and the unique characteristics of this very diverse region. APAC averages show trends similar to the Global view, but let’s compare super developed Japan with the developing markets in Indonesia and India also:
Cisco VNI Mobile Data APAC Statistics for 2014
Some observations on demand; Developed markets are already dominated by smart devices and their large data consumption, but driven by new connections (multiple devices per user and M2M(machine 2 machine)) demand still grows. Developing markets are still migrating on mass to smart devices, and hence per user data demand will be the short term driving factor. Either way it’s all about small screen access as Mobile growth outstrips Fixed Access.
While demand trends vary in the region, the other factor on growth is network capability and capacity. Here again APAC is diverse in terms of adoption rates of 3G and 4G, spectrum availability and the underlying backhaul/backbone capacity’s. For example in the table above compared to other APAC markets I see India as having pent up demand, constrained by Mobile network connectivity largely due to the limited Spectrum available.
Developed APAC, however leads the world in 4G adoption. VNI trends show in the Japan, Korea and ANZ markets 4G connections for the first time out-number 3G. This is a significant milestone and shows 4G adoption has been much faster than the move from 2G to 3G was in the past.
Cisco VNI Mobile Connectivity APAC Trends, 2014-2019
The other area APAC leads the world is in Wi-Fi connectivity. In 2014 the average APAC Wi-Fi connection speeds lead the world and now exceeds 11 Mbps. Adoption of carrier grade Wi-Fi, and migration to new standards such-as 802.11ac for 100s Mbps connection speeds, are seen across the region where regulatory constraints on un-licensed spectrum have improved. APAC has also benefited from the large investments in fibre networks for broadband, leveraged by Wi-Fi for backhaul.
Another key trend in the VNI forecast I want to call out about VoWiFi adoption. The global interest in VoWiFi as a complementary voice solution to VoLTE and 3G voice I discussed in a previous blog post, but now VNI puts some numbers around how far this might go. Interestingly, it predicts VoWiFi adoption to surpass voice over LTE (VoLTE) in minutes of use by 2018 and by 2019, VoWiFi will have 53 percent of mobile IP voice. This trend would suggest MNOs (mobile network operator) strategies for voice evolution based on IMS should consider both LTE and Wi-Fi for access, similar to how Wi-Fi today is already taking up the slack in 3G/4G mobile data capacity.
So the Mobile IP revolution continues, driven by smart devices, applications and rich content, but ultimately by the end users desire for connectivity, everywhere and anytime. Here in APAC I see this more than anywhere else.
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