Feb 6 Europe's economic slowdown and the
introduction of caps on mobile data usage have slightly damped
growth of mobile data traffic despite more mobile users, devices
and machine-to-machine connections, according to Cisco Systems
"The projected 2012 to 2017 global mobile data traffic
increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 66
percent," according to Cisco's annual visual networking index
forecast published on Tuesday.
A year ago, Cisco forecast that between 2011 and 2016 the
amount of mobile data traffic would grow at a compound annual
rate of 78 percent.
"It's been a little slower, in particular, in Western
Europe. You can't underestimate the economic downturn," said
Arielle Sumits, senior manager of marketing at Cisco.
In addition, Cisco's director of service provider marketing,
Thomas Barnett, said caps on data usage have had an impact on
mobile data traffic as well.
"Three years ago the top 1 percent were generating 50
percent of traffic, today that's only 16 percent," he said.
Carriers began retreating from flat-rate tariffs in an
effort to curb unlimited data and ease the strain on overloaded
Nevertheless, by 2017 global mobile data traffic will reach
an annual run rate of 134 exabytes per year, the study said.
An exabyte is a unit of information and 134 million exabytes
are equivalent to 30 trillion images sent via Instagram for
example or 10 images daily from each person on earth for an
That translates into 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017
compared with 0.9 exabytes per month in 2012.
The Middle East and Africa will see the highest growth rate
of data traffic with an annual rate of 77 percent, but almost
half of the world's mobile traffic will come from the Asia
Pacific region by 2017.
Most of the growth will be generated by smartphones, tablets
and laptops but machine-to-machine traffic will rise to 5
percent by 2017, while basic handsets will account for the
remaining 2 percent of global mobile data traffic.
Machine-to-machine connections include anything from GPS
systems in cars to medical applications.
By 2017 there will by 5.3 million mobile users compared with
4.3 million in 2012 and more than 10 billion mobile-ready
devices and connections, Cisco said.