Middle East and Africa Set for World’s Fastest Mobile Data Traffic Growth


mobile_dataMiddle East and Africa are the least attractive whenever surveys on mobile data are carried out. With opportunism, most reports indicate the region will be the most attractive in a near future, but this near future might not be as far as thousands think as smartphone manufacturers come up with affordable smartphones specific for the region.

 A new Cisco study indicates that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is posting the world’s-fastest mobile data traffic growth rate from 2013-2018. The report, dubbed the Cisco® Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018 shows that from last year,  mobile data traffic in the region will be increasing 14-fold by 2018.

According to the report, the mobile data traffic growth is expected to be driven by the world’s-fastest uptake of Internet Protocol version 6 (Ipv6) -capable smartphones and tablets, with a CAGR of 35 percent, rising from 133 million in 2013 to almost 598 million in 2018. In addition,  uptake of smart wearable devices like watches, glasses, and fitness trackers will also increase from 700,000 in 2013 to 8 million in 2018.

 Mobile use on Facebook-578-80Fady Younes, Regional Sales Manager and Client Director, Cisco said, “As our personal and business lives become increasingly mobile, MEA is really coming to the fore as early, widespread adopters of the latest smartphone and wearable technology. Driven by one of the most tech-receptive and youthful populations on the planet, this is a region that is now extremely well-placed to lead technological innovation in all aspects of daily life and business, leveraging the emerging power of the ‘Internet of Everything’ and faster mobile data networks.” 

Other highlights include the  increase in the MEA mobile data traffic, an estimated 1.49 Exabytes per month by 2018 – the equivalent of 372 million DVDs each month or 4,105 million text messages each second. The regions mobile data traffic is also expected to grow 2 times faster than region’s fixed IP traffic from 2013 to 2018 while the regions mobile data traffic will account for 39% of region’s fixed and mobile data traffic by 2018, up from 10% in 2013. In MEA, 36% of mobile connections will be ‘smart’ connections by 2018, up from 10% in 2013 and 90% of mobile data traffic will be ‘smart’ traffic by 2018, up from 76% in 2013.

However, looking at global trends,  mobile data traffic growth will be driven by four trends: mobile users growing from 4.1 billion in 2013 to 4.9 billion in 2018, mobile Internet connections growing from 7 billion in 2013 to 10 billion in 2018, mobile video growing from 59 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013 to 69 percent in 2018, and mobile speeds nearly doubling from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps in 2018.

The report also adds that global machine-to-machine connections, which use wired and Wi-Fi systems to communicate with devices, will grow from 5 percent of mobile-connected devices and 1 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013, to 20 percent of mobile-connected devices and 6 percent of mobile data traffic in 2018.

By the end of this year, there will be more mobile-connected devices in the world than people, and by 2018 there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices and nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita.

A-new-mobile-Wave-by-Sams-006The report also adds that people are increasingly watching video on these mobile-connected devices with global traffic growing 14-fold from 2013 to 2018, and will represent 69 percent of total mobile traffic in 2018. Declining in mobile traffic from 2013 to 2018 will be web and data applications (28 to 17 percent), streaming audio (14 to 11 percent), and file sharing (four to three percent).

Not to be left behind in this mobile data traffic, communications firms are deploying ultrafast 4G mobile networks, and off-loading mobile data onto Wi-Fi or small cell networks and MEA is not being left behind.  4G. connections in MEA will grow from 3.6 million in 2013 to 86.6 million in 2018 while Global mobile traffic offloaded will grow from 45 percent in 2013 to 52 percent in 2018.

“In MEA, mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, which is indicative of mobility becoming a critical characteristic of almost every network experience, and the value consumers and businesses alike place on it. It is also representative of the immense opportunities ahead for service providers who sit at the center of the Internet of Everything,” concluded Younes.