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Catching the Wave: SPs and Mobile Growth

Mobile data traffic worldwide will increase 13 times by 2017

By Doug Webster -

Mobile data traffic worldwide will increase 13 times by 2017.  That’s from the latest Cisco VNI Mobile Data Forecast Update, 2012-2017 released in early February. (For a quick recap, check out Thomas Barnett’s blog post and infographic.)

For those of you who surf or enjoyed the movie Chasing Mavericks, imagine mobile traffic as a rapidly rising wave, exabytes of zeros and ones surging forward and gaining momentum, towering over the ocean’s surface.

But, what does all this mobile traffic growth, this Mavericks wave if you will, mean to SPs?

I see at least four significant implications:

  • Implication #1:  Nearly every online experience will not just be a mobile one but a visual one as well.  Indicator:  between 2012 and 2017, mobile video will grow at a CAGR of 75 percent.  Indicator:  by 2017, mobile video will comprise 66% of global mobile data traffic.
  • Implication #2:  There will be great demand for services that SPs offer — most notably, mobile video (see implication #1). But there’s also the emerging Internet of Everything, rich with machine-to-machine connections and related services.  Remote home security and health care monitoring just scratch the surface.  With that, there will need to be numerous opportunities for new ways to monetize. Differentiated and superior user experiences – such as those available on the mobile Internet now and coming in the near future — offer value customers will pay for.
  • Implication #3:  More capacity and more coverage are critical.  SP WiFi will have to work hand-in-hand with macro radios to keep up.  It will increasingly no longer be an “either/or” decision regarding network access but an “and” one, with both types operating in conjunction with one another.
  • Implication #4:  A more architectural approach is needed to manage the ever-changing dynamics of the new mobile Internet.  With the proliferation of mobile devices employing faster, more robust transmission (think 4G), the network must connect all devices transparently, while providing high-performance computing and delivering enhanced real-time video, multimedia, and data-based services.  Low latency in particular will be key as more applications move to the cloud.

More simply put, agile SPs can ride the spectacular wave of mobile traffic growth to impressive new heights – if they grab their board and catch the curl with foresight, skill, and innovation.

Hang ten, anyone?

More Stories By Don Nelson

Don Nelson is the moderator and Program Manager for the CiscoSP360 Blog. He is a member of the Service Provider marketing team at Cisco Systems, Inc. Don has more than 10 years of experience in web site development, design, information architecture, and web-based marketing. In 2008, he transitioned from webmaster to exploring and managing social media marketing for B2B.

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