A mobile traffic forecast from Cisco calls for that traffic to reach nearly a zettabyte annually by 2022, representing one-fifth of all global IP traffic. The 930 exabytes of mobile traffic expected by 2022 is almost 113 times more than the level of a decade earlier.

The growth is due to mobile technology’s convenience as well as its evolving capabilities to connect more people and things than ever before.

Only two years ago, according to Cisco, there were 5 billion mobile users, a figure that is expected to expand to 5.5 billion users, or 71% of the global population, by 2022. Additionally, by 2022 Cisco expects there to be in excess of 12 billion mobile-ready devices and IoT connections (up from about 9 billion mobile-ready devices and IoT connections in 2017). By 2022, mobile networks will support more than eight billion personal mobile devices and four billion IoT connections.

Cisco Mobile Traffic Forecast
Mobile network speeds will grow as well, Cisco predicted, with the average global mobile network speeds rising more than three-fold from 8.7 Mbps in 2017 to 28.5 Mbps by 2022.

“As global mobile traffic approaches the zettabyte era, we believe that 5G and WiFi will coexist as necessary and complementary access technologies, offering key benefits to our enterprise and service provider customers to extend their architectures,” said Jonathan Davidson, Cisco senior vice president and general manager, service provider business, in a prepared statement.

cisco mobility report
Source: Cisco

Among other predictions:


  • By 2022, 5G connections will represent over three percent of total mobile connections (more than 422 million global 5G devices and M2M connections) and will account for nearly 12 percent of global mobile data traffic.​
  • By 2022, the average 5G connection (22 GB/month) will generate about 3X more traffic than the average 4G connection (8 GB/month).

WiFi: Traffic Offload from Mobile Networks (Cellular) to Fixed Networks (WiFi)

  • In 2017, monthly offload traffic (13 EB) exceeded monthly mobile/cellular traffic (12 EB).
  • In 2017, 54 percent of total mobile data traffic was offloaded; by 2022, 59 percent of total mobile data traffic will be offloaded.
  • 2017 Total IP Traffic (fixed & mobile): 48 percent Wired, 43 percent WiFi, nine percent Mobile.
  • 2022 Total IP Traffic (fixed & mobile): 29 percent Wired, 51 percent WiFi, 20 percent Mobile.
  • Globally, total WiFi hotspots (including home spots) will grow 4X from 2017 (124 million) to 2022 (549 million).

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and LPWA Connection Share

  • In 2017, Low-Power, Wide-area (LPWA) networks supported 1.5% of mobile devices/M2M connections, 2G supported 34% of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 3G supported 30% of global mobile devices/M2M connections; and 4G supported 35% of global mobile devices/M2M connections.
  • By 2022, LPWA networks will support 14% of mobile devices/M2M connections, 2G will support 8% of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 3G will support 20% of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 4G will support 54% of global mobile devices/M2M connections; 5G will support 3% of global mobile devices/M2M connections (about 422m 5G connections).

Image courtesy of flickr user Jim Makos.

Join the Conversation

One thought on “Cisco Report: At 22 GB/Month, the Avg 5G Connection Will Generate 3X More Traffic Than Avg 4G Connection

  1. So far there has not been a single peep from the carriers as to what 5G will do to their so-called "Unlimited" data plans, which we all know are not really unlimited but have caps and speed degradation applied after so many GB of data is used. The excuses are that these tactics are necessary to "balance the network", but if the carriers would simply utilize ALL the spectrum they have at their disposal, upgrade the backhaul to EVERY one of their sites, install LTE-Advanced functions on ALL their sites such as carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, MIMO, etc, there would be no need for throttling and data restrictions. But they have not done this, they never have done any of this over their entire operational history, and there is really no hope that they will in the future based on this track record. 5G will come, and with it will come new data restrictions and caps, in the end producing a service that is really no better than what we have right now.

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