Cisco Predicts That Mobile Phone Ownership Will Reach 5.5 Billion by 2020

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Any digital marketing whiz will tell you that the fate of internet searches and sales were placed in the hands of smart phone users long ago. The use of mobile phones for online purchasing and general internet usage has skyrocketed with a prevalence of the smart phone in the global citizen’s pocket.

And according to Cisco Systems, the world’s largest supplier of the routing and switching gear that makes much of the world’s internet connections run, predicts that by 2020, 5.5 billion people worldwide will have a mobile device — that’s a whopping 70% of the global population.

And on top of that, the Visual Networking Index, a survey of worldwide internet traffic trends, predicts that Internet traffic totals for this year will break the zettabyte barrier, and will double in 2019.

A zettabyte is equivalent to one billion terabytes. For those unfamiliar with data lingo, a terabyte is the amount of storage one would receive on iCloud for around $10 a month.

And the driver of this massive usage of data? Mobile devices, of course. Between now and 2020, Cisco predicts that the burgeoning cell phone possession and usage will help to grow mobile traffic at twice the rate that the world’s population is growing. And since the number of smartphone users is growing at a 42% annual global rate, this data isn’t exactly surprising.

But what is perhaps surprising is another one of Cisco’s predictions: the number of people with a mobile phone will exceed the number of individuals who have running water, electricity, or a car. In regions like Africa and the Middle East, the use of internet is growing the fastest, at a rate of 44% per year.

Countries in Asia and Pacific regions are predicted to generate the most traffic overall, exerting just over 54 exabytes per month. North American and the U.S. will come in close second, generating about 50 exabytes of data per year.

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