How do you build a futuristic digital infrastructure?
Speaking at the recently-held IESA Vision Summit 2019 in Bangalore, India, Manish Gangey, head R&D, Airtel, started with the growth of mobile broadband in India. Mobile broadband has been outpacing everything else.
He said that in 2024, there will be an estimated 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions, 8.4 billion mobile broadband subscriptions, and 6.2 million unique mobile subscribers. This is not all! 4G and 5G will likely own the bulk of the connections! These are according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, 2018.
Next, smartphones will dominate consumption devices. Smartphone subscriptions by technology was at 5 billion during 2018. This is expected to touch 7.2 billion by 2024. The maximum growth will be in 5G smartphones, followed closely by LTE smartphones.
Data consumption on smartphones are likely to multiply. If you look at the mobile data traffic per active smartphone, North America will see huge jump, from 8.6GB per month in 2018 to 50GB per month in 2024. Western Europe will jump from 6.1GB per month in 2018 to 32GB per month in 2024. Central and Western Europe will rise from 4.7GB per month in 2018 to 19GB per month in 2024.
Growth will also be high in Latin America, from 3.4GB per month in 2018 to 18GB per month in 2024. India will see a growth from 6.8GB per month in 2018 to 15GB per month in 2024. South East Asia and Oceania will grow from 3.8GB per month in 2018 to 19GB per month in 2024, while North East Asia will grow from 7.3GB per month in 2018 to 21GB per month in 2024. Middle East and Africa will grow from 2.9GB per month in 2018 to 15GB per month in 2024.
Video dominant application
Video will continue to be the dominant application category. Mobile data traffic by application category saw video account for 60 percent, with total traffic at 27EB per month in 2018. This will also see growth, with video accounting for around 74 percent of mobile data traffic by 2024.
Video applications will continue to dominate in the years ahead, as per the monthly traffic generated by 5 minutes of streaming per day. It will result in multiple-fold data consumption across regions, requiring telecom infrastructure to significantly upscale.
As for the regional mobile data traffic, North America will grow from 3.2EB per month in 2018 to 19EB per month in 2024. Western Europe will grow from 2.6EB per month in 2018 to 14EB per month in 2024. Central and Eastern Europe will grow from 1.5EB per month in 2018 to 9.2EB per month in 2024.
Latin America will grow from 1.6EB per month in 2018 to 9.5EB per month in 2024, while the Middle East and Africa will grow from 1.8EB per month in 2018 to 17EB per month in 2024. The largest spike will be witnessed in North East Asia, which will grow from 11EB per month in 2018 to 39EB per month in 2024. South East Asia and Oceania will grow from 2.2EB per month in 2018 to 16EB per month in 2024. Finally, India will grow from 3EB per month in 2018 to 12EB per month in 2024.
Use cases driving network evolution
Use cases are driving network evolution. There are use cases across domains with varied requirements. Enhanced mobile broadband will be greater in UHD and virtual reality, as well as augmented reality. Ultra-reliable low latency will be across industrial automation and self-driving cars. Massive machine type will be more in smart cities and smart homes/buildings.
There will be different kinds of demands on networks’ KPIs. Some examples are, factory cell automation, that requires latency and reliability, high-speed trains, that require traffic density, user throughput, mobility, and latency. Massive IoT is also a use case, requiring connection density, availability, and energy efficiency.
Technology developments are driving the network evolution. Significant evolution in technology with 4G advanced and 5G, are necessitating the overhaul of the network and IT infrastructure.
Networks now have the ability to access 10 times as much spectrum with better radio technology. There has been an integration of licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Small cells are now ready for mass deployment.
New network architectures are evolving, such as NFV, mobile edge computing, etc. There is also an equal support for Things and People.