5G will account for a quarter of UK mobile data traffic by 2022

(Image credit: Huawei)

More than a quarter (28.6 per cent) all mobile traffic within the UK will be transmitted via a 5G network by 2022, according to Cisco’s latest Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI).

This proportion is more than European rivals like France and Germany, and second only to the US.

EE, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed plans to launch 5G services in 2019, promising ultrafast speeds, greater capacity, and ultra-low latency. These characteristics will enable faster mobile broadband and a range of new consumer and industrial applications.

UK 5G traffic

Cisco predicts that 5G will account for 7.3 per cent of total mobile connections in the UK within five years, as the number of devices connected to all types of cellular network increases from 110.9 million to 207.9 million.

On a global basis, 5G will represent three per cent of connections by 2022, with more than 422 million 5G connected devices generating an average of 22GB a month.

Meanwhile, the increased availability of mobile networks will see the number of mobile users increase from 5 billion to 5.5 billion during the same period and the number of mobile devices (both smartphones and IoT) rise to 12 billion.

These trends will see total annual mobile data consumption reach 930EB (Exabytes) and account for a fifth of all IP traffic. To put this into context, back in 2012, mobile represented less than five per cent of the total and the volume generated was 113 times less.

“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,” commented Jonathan Davidson, head of Cisco’s Service Provider Business.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.