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Middle East and Africa to see fastest IP traffic growth by 2020

IP traffic in Middle East and Africa to grow 41% a year by 2020, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is set to see six-fold growth in IP traffic from 2015 to 2020, according to the eleventh annual Cisco Visual Networking Index.

According to the report, the region has the world’s fastest growth in IP traffic, predicted to go at a compound annual growth rate of 41% by 2020. This compares with the global projected average rate of 22%.

The report added that one billion new internet users are expected to emerge globally by 2020. Of these, 445 million are expected to be in the Middle East and Africa. Cisco said the growth expected in the MEA region is stark evidence of the ongoing increase in worldwide internet connectivity.

“One of the most significant changes of the next few years will be the dramatic increase in worldwide connectivity via the internet,” said Mike Weston, vice-president of Cisco Middle East.

“Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than across the Middle East and Africa, where we are looking at the highest growth rate in the world with 2.4 billion new devices and connections to be added by 2020.”

Weston added that Cisco expects the rapid increase in connected devices and IP traffic to create new opportunities that arise from digitisation, delivering benefits such as reduced costs and increased efficiency.

Globally, the report said video services and content will be the dominant use case for IP traffic, predicting that internet video will account for 79% of internet traffic by 2020 – up from 63% in 2015.

Read more about enterprise IT in the Middle East

In the MEA region, Cisco predicted that internet video traffic would grow eight-fold from 2015 to 2020 – a compound annual growth rate of 52%. Cisco said the MEA region would see 169 billion minutes – 321,793 years – of video content cross the internet each month in 2020.

It predicted that mobile data traffic will grow 15-fold in the MEA region by 2020 – twice as fast as fixed IP traffic is expected to grow. The report also said mobile will constitute 40% of total IP traffic in the region by 2020.  The average mobile connection speed will grow six-fold and will reach 5 Mbps by 2020, Cisco added.

The report predicted that advancements in the internet of things (IoT) are continuing to drive IP traffic and tangible growth in the market. Globally, machine to machine (M2M) connections are calculated to grow nearly three-fold from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020, representing nearly half (46%) of total connected devices.

In the Middle East and Africa, Cisco said by 2020, there will be approximately 1.5 networked devices per capita, 77% of which will be mobile-connected. M2M modules will account for 22% of all networked devices, Cisco predicted. 

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