VNI Mobile Report: Predicting greater speeds, more users, and more device density across Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, and The Middle East and Africa
Internet of Things, Thought Leadership, Mobility
It would be hard to miss what’s been ‘front of mind’ at this year’s MWC. Adoption of 5G has dominated the news (in anticipation of its rapid rollout over the next few years). More broadly, Service Providers have continued to focus on the key question of how to accommodate increasing bandwidth requirements while rolling out mobile connectivity to an ever-growing proportion of the world’s population.
Last week, Cisco published its 12th VNI Mobile Report. This annual report includes highly detailed global, regional and country-level projections concerning all forms of mobile connectivity.
As last year, the report predicts universal growth in mobile connectivity, speed and bandwidth usage. Globally, mobile traffic is projected to make up nearly 20 percent of IP traffic – or 930 exabytes annually – by 2022 – nearly 113 times more than mobile traffic ten years earlier.
The report also shows the extent to which 5G is predicted to ‘break out’ over the next three years. Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and The Middle East and Africa, considered as a whole, will see 82 million 5G connections come online by 2022 (out of 422 million globally). It is expected that this expansion in 5G connectivity will be accompanied by the rapid development of a number of exciting applications, including autonomous cars, ‘The Massive IoT’, and AR/VR (all trends referenced in Cisco’s recent ‘Predictions for 2019’).
Looking at a few other regional stats in more detail:
Mobile users as a % of the population
The fastest growth in mobile penetration will occur in The Middle East & Africa:
- Western Europe: As a result of a relative degree of saturation in mobile connectivity, (with 85% of the population already online), Western Europe is predicted to demonstrate the slowest rate of growth in its population achieving mobile connectivity over the next few years. It will grow a mere 1 percentage point to 86% - still ahead of the projected global average (71%).
- Central & Eastern Europe: Again, with a relatively high percentage of its population connected via mobile devices, Central & Eastern Europe is set to follow a relatively low growth trajectory. From 80% of the population being online in 2017, this number will rise to 82% in 2022 – but again, still well ahead of global averages.
- MEA: By 2022, 58% of the Middle East and Africa will have mobile connectivity – up from 52% in 2017. This translates to a CAGR of 4.6% – the fastest rate of growth in mobile penetration anywhere.
Mobile devices and connections per capita
The fastest growth in connected device density will occur in The West:
- Western Europe: By way of contrast, Western Europe is projected to have one of the highest rates of growth in the number of mobile devices and connections per head. Western Europe will grow from 1.6 devices per person in 2017 to 2.7 in 2022 – well above the projected global average). Both it and North America (with 3.1 devices per head) will maintain a significant lead over other areas in in terms of devices per capita.
- Central & Eastern Europe: By 2022 Central & Eastern Europe will have moved from 1.3 devices per capita to 1.8 – remaining just about ahead of global averages.
- MEA: Interestingly, The Middle East & Africa will show one of the slowest growth rates of mobile devices and connections per capita (moving from 0.9 per capita in 2017 to 1.1 in 2022). MEA’s immediate future will lie in expanding its mobile user base, but it appears it will struggle to move beyond the magic ‘single device per user’ figure for the next few years.
Western Europe will lead the world in terms of average cellular speeds:
- Global: Perhaps the most significant statistic is the whole report is the enormous projected growth in cellular speeds across the world. Overall global average speeds will more than triple from 8.7Mbps in 2017 to 28.5Mbps by 2022.
- Western Europe: Western Europe is set to dominate this field. Having started with slightly lower cellular speeds than Northern America in 2017 (16Mbps compared to 16.3Mbps), Western Europe will claim first place globally by 2022 with 50.5Mbps (compared to 42 Mbps in Northern America). By this point Western Europe’s speeds will be almost double the global average.
- Central & Eastern Europe: Though starting towards the middle of the leagues, Central and Eastern Europe is set to drop below the global average by 2022, (with 26.2Mbps, compared to the global average of 28.5 Mbps). It will also demonstrate the lowest growth in the market (21% CAGR).
- MEA: Again, despite remaining behind in absolute speeds, (moving from 4.4Mbps to 15.3Mbps by 2022), MEA will show amongst the strongest growth (3.4X and 28% CAGR. This growth rate is second only to Latin America’s (at 30% CAGR).
It is clear that the infrastructure needs of individual countries and regions will vary considerably over the next few years. Some will be focused on achieving higher mobile penetration. More mature digital economies, will be focused on accommodating growing numbers of per-capita devices, or accommodating more data-intensive usage trends.
Whatever the blend of requirements, Cisco is available to help Service Providers face change and succeed. Cisco is committed to helping network operators meet the growing bandwidth needs of their various user bases, both through its work directly with customers, and its broader investment in national infrastructures through Country Digital Acceleration initiatives.
The Mobile VNI report outlines a number of additional trends, from growth in the use of Wi-Fi to support core mobile protocols (blog), to enormous increases in the number of IoT devices worldwide, and enormous projected increases in the proportions of traffic made up by video.
For more detailed information please read Cisco’s global press release on the VNI Mobile report, which contains links to the VNI Mobile White Paper, an infographic looking at the global data, and a handy visualisation tool with a detailed breakdown of the data by region.
For further information on Cisco’s SP proposition, or to contact the SP team, please visit Cisco’s Service Provider site.