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Cisco forecasts 15-fold mobile data growth in Middle East

Growth in smart devices, mobile video and 4G to drive data traffic in Middle East and Africa

Cisco forecasts 15-fold mobile data growth in Middle East
Andy MacDonald, Cisco’s vice president, global service provider, Middle East, Africa & Russia

Cisco's Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecasts the Middle East and Africa region to have a growth rate of 71% in mobile data traffic from 2015 to 2020.

Cisco stated the adoption of mobile devices, increased mobile coverage, and demand for mobile content are driving user growth two times faster than the global population over the next five years. Smart mobile devices and connections are projected to represent 72% of total mobile devices and connections by 2020, up from 36% in 2015, plus smart devices are expected to generate 98% of mobile data traffic by 2020.

"According to the 10th annual Cisco VNI report, the number of mobile users will grow from 709m in 2015 to 879m in 2020 in the MEA region. With the ever-increasing millions of people and things that are being connected in the region, mobility is the predominant medium that's enabling today's digitisation transformation, said Andy MacDonald, Cisco's vice president, global service provider, Middle East, Africa & Russia.  

"Future mobile innovations in cellular, such as 5G, and Wi-Fi solutions will be needed to further address new scale requirements, security concerns, and user demands. Internet of Things advancements will continue to fuel tangible benefits for people, businesses, and societies."

From an individual device perspective, smartphones are dominating mobile traffic. They will account for 81% of total mobile traffic by 2020, up from 76% in 2015. The proliferation of mobile phones, including "phablets" (a hybrid blend of smartphone and tablet features), is increasing so rapidly that more 5.4bn people will have mobile phones than electricity (5.3bn), running water (3.5bn) and cars (2.8bn) by 2020.

Furthermore, mobile video will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application. Consumer and business users' demand for higher video resolution, more bandwidth, and processing speed will increase the use of 4G connected devices. 4G connectivity share is projected to surpass 2G by 2018 and 3G by 2020. 4G will represent more than 70% of all mobile traffic, and 4G connections will generate nearly six times more traffic per month than non-4G connections by 2020.

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