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3 game-changing discoveries from the Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI)

  • Globally, there will be 5.5 billion mobile users by 2021
  • There will be nearly 12 billion mobile devices/connections by 2021
  • Mobile data traffic will have grown grow seven-fold from 2016 to 2021

Cisco’s 11th annual Mobile VNI Forecast update projects global mobile data traffic growth from 2016 - 2021 and analyzes the new demands that will be placed on wireless networks globally. For service providers, there are three potential game-changing mobile discoveries related to user, connection and traffic predictions.  Service providers that make strategic and tactical adjustments in the following key areas will be primed to create or maintain their competitive advantage:


Trend 1: More mobile-savvy users will require business model adjustments

Mobile continues to be the platform of choice for consumers and business users. Globally, there will be 5.5 billion mobile users by 2021, up from 4.9 billion mobile users in 2016. In five years’ time, 71 per cent of the global population will be using a mobile device. Your organization must flexibly adjust its mobile business models to retain subscribers and capitalize on new opportunities.

Tiered pricing plans, shared data, and unlimited offers may all be considered (one size will not fit all). You and your colleagues must understand mobile bandwidth consumption patterns, particularly regarding video and multimedia applications. Globally, mobile carriers must have profitable revenue streams now to fund future technology investments (e.g., 5G).

Discover more fascinating insights into the business world of 2021 in this webcast


Trend 2: More ‘smart’ mobile connections will require more intelligent mobile infrastructures

While the number of people using mobile networks is increasing, there’s an even greater rise in in the number of mobile devices/connections. Globally, there will be nearly 12 billion mobile devices/connections by 2021, approximately 1.5 connections per capita worldwide. More than 3 billion of those mobile connections will be machine-to-machine (M2M) nodes, representing a wide array of mobile Internet of Things (IoT) applications. In addition to IoT, mobile networks will need to support emerging virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) services as well as an ever-growing volume of video content (streamed live and downloaded).

How do you ensure high-quaity, secure mobile network experiences to multiple screens, at varied resolutions, over new and legacy device operating systems? Open architectures with greater intelligence will be essential. While next generation 5G networks offer the promise of solving many issues, most experts believe that large-scale 5G roll outs won’t begin until 2020. But, the hard work needs to begin now – focusing on HetNet, Mobile Core and xHaul transformations to prepare for new consumer and business services.


Trend 3: Significant traffic growth heightens the need for service differentiation

All these combined developments in technology and connectivity reflect the increased demand and reliance on mobile networks. Globally, mobile data traffic will grow seven-fold from 2016 to 2021. Mobile data traffic will grow two times faster than fixed traffic during the forecast period. 5G is expected to bring much-anticipated innovations and enhancements for the mobile industry at-large? But how will your company uniquely differentiate itself from competitors?

Will it be custom content, purpose-built prioritization for specific consumer or business services, or something else? Ultimately, you and your colleagues will use 5G as merely a platform to highlight your own innovations and differentiated service offerings. You will need to innovate while meeting more stringent security requirements and new regulatory specifications. As good as you are, you’ll need strong partners to be successful -- in technology/architecture, content development and distribution, application development, and more. With input from the right partners and your own proprietary intelligence, you can build a strategy and infrastructure for sustainable growth.


There’s more to come

The demands on mobile and networking services are set to change irrevocably during the next five years and your business could be at the forefront of the transformation. You and your colleagues must prepare for 5G and a new age of connectivity. Cisco is prepared to be one of your value-added partners.  We have unique perspectives on the evolving global mobile landscape and the solutions and services to help your business make the most of new technologies and fast-changing service demands.

To find out more, check out the updated Cisco Mobile VNI Forecast and we also invite you to attend our upcoming Cisco Knowledge Network event (US/EMEAR/APJC).