Cisco Mobile Networks to Support 1 Billion Mobile Users in MEA

Mobile Phones

The Cisco Predictions for Middle East include that Mobile Networks Will Support More Than 1 Billion Mobile Users in MEA by 2022

According to this year’s forecast update (2017 – 2022), mobile traffic will be on the verge of reaching an annual run rate of a zettabyte by the end of the forecast period. By 2022, mobile traffic will represent nearly 20 percent of global IP traffic and will reach 930 exabytes annually. This will equate to nearly 113 times more than all global mobile traffic generated just ten years prior, in 2012.

At the inception of Cisco’s Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast more than a decade ago, mobile traffic represented less than five percent of total IP traffic crossing global networks. Today, the role and reliance placed on mobile networking has dramatically increased.

There has been worldwide rise in mobile access for consumers and business users. The expanded reach and quality of mobile broadband has fostered a seemingly insatiable demand for mobile communications, media and a wide range of mobile IoT applications.

Mobile technologies continue to connect more people and things than ever before. In 2017, there were five billion mobile users worldwide, but over the next five years, that number will increase by half a billion to 5.5 billion users, which represents about 71 percent of the global population.

Cisco’s has Key Predictions for the Middle East and Africa


   A sharp rise in mobile user and connection traffic

  • In MEA, there will be 1.0 billion (58 percent of Middle East and Africa’s population) mobile users by 2022, up from 798 million in 2017.
  • Mobile traffic per user will reach 7,649 megabytes per month by 2022, up from 777 megabytes per month in 2016 – a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 57 percent.
  • Mobile traffic per mobile connection (including M2M/LPWA) will reach 4,061 megabytes per month by 2021, up from 459 megabytes per month in 2016, a CAGR of 55 percent.

    Evolvement towards smarter multimedia mobile devices

  • In 2017, smart devices and connections accounted for 27 percent of mobile devices and connections in MEA, excluding Low Power Wide Area connections (LPWA). By 2022, Cisco anticipates an increase to 77 percent of connections.
  • Smart devices and connections made up 78.3 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2017. Such traffic is expected to rise to 96.1 percent by 2022.
  • By 2022, Cisco predicts that 20 percent of MEA’s mobile connections will be 2G, whilst 54 percent will be 3G. With network providers keen to provide seamless connections, it is anticipated that 4G will account for 23 percent of 23 percent regional mobile connections and 5G – a 0.2 percent share. As more M2M and IoT devices become connected, LPWA technology is expected to make up 4 percent of mobile connections.

    More mobile IoT adoption – M2M and Wearables

  • MEA will have the second highest growth rate in terms of mobile M2M connections, with a CAGR of 31 percent between 2017 and 2022.
  • It is predicted that M2M traffic will grow almost ten-fold between 2017 and 2022, with a CAGR of 58 percent.

Data Centre spend across MENA estimated to hit US$5bn in 2019

Improved mobile network and Wi-Fi speeds

  • In 2017, average cellular speeds in MEA were approximately 4.4 Mbps. By 2022, Cisco predicts a 10.9 Mbps increase to 15.3 Mbps.
  • Average Wi-Fi speeds are also expected to increase, from 6.2 Mbps in 2017 to 11.2 Mbps in 2022.
  • The gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross mobile networks every 31 minutes in MEA by 2022.

“Cisco is committed to helping network operators meet the growing bandwidth needs of mobile consumers, business users and the diverse collection of IoT applications,”said Ali Amer, Managing Director, Global Service Provider Sales, Cisco Middle East and Africa.

“As global mobile traffic approaches the zettabyte era, we believe that 5G and Wi-Fi will coexist as necessary and complementary access technologies, offering key benefits to our enterprise and service provider customers to extend their architectures. We look forward to ongoing discussions with our customers in the Middle East and Africa, preparing for this growth and mapping out their network architecture transitions.”

Also read: Cisco Says 5G Success Will Depend on New WiFi Technology

Cisco Mobile VNI Forecast

The Cisco Mobile VNI Forecast includes global, regional, and country-level projections and trends associated with mobile (2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G) radio networks. The full report includes additional information and analysis on mobile traffic growth, mobile devices/connections, mobile IoT by various industry verticals, mobile IPv6 adoption, mobile network performance, Wi-Fi offload from cellular devices/connections, and mobile tiered pricing (unlimited and shared plans).

Cisco Mobile VNI Methodology

The Cisco VNI Complete Forecast for 2017 to 2022 relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco’s own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption. A detailed methodology description is included in the complete report. Over its 13-year history, Cisco® VNI research has become a highly regarded measure of the internet’s growth.

National governments, network regulators, academic researchers, telecommunications companies, technology experts and industry/business press and analysts rely on the annual study to help plan for the digital future.