Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index forecasts that 66 percent of all mobile data traffic will be video by 2015. Given that perhaps 90 percent of global undersea backbone traffic is composed of video, perhaps it is only mildly shocking to realize that mobile data consumption will start to match global backbone traffic.

Of course, there are political uses of such data. Some might say Cisco benefits if such bandwidth demand actually occurs. Others might argue that forecasts such as the VNI provide the rationale for more broadband infrastructure investment, and hence retail price increases.

For that reason, some say the VNI, and other such bandwidth forecasts, are not accurate.

But it would be hard to find a communications executive who disagrees with the thrust of the findings, if not every single forecast target. Overall, bandwidth consumption has been growing at about 60 percent a year, on average, for a decade.

And it is hard to argue with the thesis that video consumption is growing.

Worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015, reaching 6.3 exabytes per month or an annual run rate of 75 exabytes by 2015 due to a projected surge in mobile Internet-enabled devices delivering popular video applications and services, according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index.

This traffic increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 92 percent over the same period. Two major global trends are driving these significant mobile data traffic increases: a continued surge in mobile-ready devices such as tablets and smart phones, and widespread mobile video content consumption.

The Cisco study predicts that by 2015, more than 5.6 billion personal devices will be connected to mobile networks, and there will also be 1.5 billion machine-to-machine nodes — nearly the equivalent of one mobile connection for every person in the world.

Mobile video is forecast to represent 66 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2015, increasing 35-fold from 2010 to 2015, the highest growth rate of any mobile data application tracked in the Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast.

Mobile traffic originating from tablet devices is expected to grow 205-fold from 2010 to 2015, the highest growth rate of any device category tracked.

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