John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Tablets Will Generate 17 Percent of Mobile Wireless Data Demand by 2020

According to Cisco’s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, the iPad and tablets like it generate 5 times more data traffic than the average smartphone. In 2010, for example, mobile data traffic per tablet was about 405MB per month, compared to 79MB per month per smartphone (see chart below). Not much of a surprise, really, considering tablets excel at media and information consumption.

What is surprising, though, is the rate at which that data traffic is growing.

With connected tablets growing in popularity, network usage is ramping up–and fast. Goldman Sachs figures it’s increasing by 30 percent per year and by 2020 will account for 17 percent of all mobile wireless data demand.

“We expect global tablet sales to grow over 300 percent through 2012,” Goldman’s analysts explain. “Our forecast implies a 42 percent CAGR (2010-2020) in network activated tablet subscribers (tablets that actually subscribe to a wireless data plan) with monthly data usage assumed to grow at the rate of 30 percent per year from 1.5GB/month to over 20GB/month in 2020. We estimate this burgeoning demand would generate around 72 percent adjusted growth in tablet-centric wireless network demand during the same period. As a result, we forecast tablets to account for around 17 percent of wireless data traffic by 2020.”

That might seem incredible at first with smartphone data consumption spiking the way it has been. But remember that mobile data and video are well on their way to being considered as much a necessity as voice service. And with continued advances in tablet processing power and battery life, data and video usage is only going to increase.