SA mobile data traffic to grow eight-fold

Mobile data traffic in South Africa is forecast to increase almost eight-fold over the next five years and as the segment grow twice as fast as fixed IP traffic in the country.

This is according to networking technology firm Cisco, which further predicts that mobile traffic growth in the country could be double that of fixed line traffic.

The ‘Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018’ further says that mobile data traffic in South Africa is set to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53% in the next five years.

This means that the market segment could reach an annual run rate of two exabytes by 2018. An exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes or one billion gigabytes.

Cisco says strong growth in the adoption of mobile internet connections in South Africa, such as personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, is set to drive this trend

“In South Africa, there will be 40 million mobile users by 2018, up from 38 million in 2013,” notes the study.

“There will be 98 million mobile-connected devices by 2018, approximately 1.8 per capita for South Africa,” the study further adds.

As a result Cisco is further predicting that video will make up 78% of South Africa's mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 50% at the end of 2013.

Globally, video is set to represent 69% of mobile data traffic in 2018, up from 53 percent in 2013, says Cisco.

Cisco goes on to highlight other key South African projections:

60% of mobile connections in South Africa will be 'smart' connections by 2018, up from 20 percent in 2013.
In 2013, Machine-to-machine (M2M) modules represented more than 8% of device connections and close to one percent of total traffic. In 2018, M2M modules will represent more than 17% of device connections and 2% of total traffic in South Africa. M2M refers to applications that enable wireless and wired systems to communicate with similar devices to support global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation systems, asset tracking, utility meters, security and surveillance video.
The average mobile connection speed will grow 2-fold (17% CAGR) from 2013 to 2018, reaching 1,543 kbps by 2018, from 704 kbps in 2013.
4G will account for 39% of total mobile data traffic by 2018, compared to 9% at the end of 2013.
By 2018, 4G connections will support 13.8% of all connections, up from 1.1% in 2013.
By 2018, 33% of mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi or small cell networks, up from 20% in 2013. ‘Offload’ refers to traffic from dual mode devices and supports cell and Wi-Fi connectivity, excluding laptops) over Wi-Fi and small cell networks. Offloading occurs at the user or device level when one switches from a cell connection to Wi-Fi and small cell access.

The Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2013-2018) relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world mobile data usage studies.