The Rise of Mobile: 11.6 Billion Mobile-Connected Devices By 2020

February 4, 2016

Cisco’s annual mobile data forecast update is now available and is chock-full of exciting news and projections for the world of wireless.  For instance, U.S. mobile data traffic will reach 2.9 exabytes per month by 2020.  What’s an exabyte?  Cisco puts it into context: 2.9 exabytes is like streaming 725 million DVDs each month.  That puts our weekend binge watching to shame!

Looking back, Cisco finds that global mobile data traffic has grown almost 400-million-fold over the past 15 years and 4,000-fold over the past 10 years.  The number of mobile users has quintupled since the early 2000’s. Fast forward to 2020, Recode highlights that the number of people who own mobile phones will exceed the amount of people that have access to running water or even electricity.

By 2020, there will be 5.5 billion mobile users, representing 70 percent of the global population. More than half a billion (563 million) mobile devices and connections were added just last year. Given the ubiquity of mobile devices in today’s day and age, here are some impressive statistics about the projections, growth trends and the impact of wireless connectivity over the next five years.

In the United States:

–       There will be 947 million mobile-connected devices by 2020, approximately 2.8 per capita, up from 447 million in 2015.

–       The number of wearable devices will reach 163.2 million in number by 2020, up from 34.9 million in 2015 and the number of wearable devices with embedded cellular connections will reach 14.3 million by 2020, up from 1.3 million today.

–       4G traffic will grow 7-fold from 2015 to 2020 and will account for 93.6% of total mobile data traffic by 2020 compared to 80.5% today.

–       The average 4G speed was 19,422 kbps in 2015. By 2020, the average 4G speed will almost double to 36,363 kbps.

Meanwhile, globally:

–       A 4G connection generates six times more traffic than a non-4G connection.  In 2015, 4G surpassed 3G for the largest share of mobile data traffic by network type.

–       By 2020, mobile-connected tablets will generate nearly eight times more traffic than generated in 2015. The number of mobile-connected tablets will grow 1.8-fold between 2015 and 2020, reaching 36.5 million.

–       By 2018, nearly 70% of all data traversing the Internet is going to be video. That is five million years of video crossing the Internet every month!

These are just a few of the highlights from the report. To read more about the ways smartphones are driving the world’s Internet traffic and will continue to do so—click here.