The fourth generation, or 4G, mobile internet transformation is expanding the world of global mobile traffic–very rapidly. According to a forecast released this week by computer networking giant Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO, http://www.cisco.com), global mobile traffic is expected to increase 66 times in the next five years (2008 to 2013) with a compound annual growth rate of 131 percent in the same period. The highest rates are expected to occur in emerging markets: Latin America will be the strongest with a 166 percent annual growth rate, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 146 percent. By 2013, Asia Pacific will account for one-third of all mobile data traffic. Cisco released the results of its Visual Networking Index Mobile Forecast Tuesday (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Newest-Cisco-Visual-iw-14309618.html).
These forecasts represent significant growth prospects for a host of small private or smallcap companies. How about Newport Beach, CA-based Mindspeed Technologies (Nasdaq: MSPD, http://www.mindspeed.com), which makes chips that help deliver voice, audio and video data. Mindspeed’s stock price (about 80 cents, down from a 52-week high of $4.90) and revenues have suffered recently due to the recent economic downturn but obviously the future beckons. Or there is privately-held, Minneapolis-based Digital River (http://www.digitalriver.com), a provider of a variety of global e-commerce solutions.
The forecast also includes mobile video traffic, which is expected to grow at an annual rate of 150 percent in the five-year period. By 2013, 64 percent of the world’s mobile traffic will be video, according to the Cisco forecast. That’s welcome news for Plano, TX-based ViewCast (EBB: VCST, http://www.viewcast.com), which manufactures hardware and software for live streaming and on-demand video. ViewCast in January released its Niagara 2100, the lowest priced streaming appliance on the market. Or Clifton Park, NY-based On2 Technologies (AMEX: ONT, http://www.on2.com), which sells video compression software and related services.
According to Wikipedia, “4G (also known as Beyond 3G) is a term used to describe the next complete evolution in wireless communications. A 4G system will be able to provide a comprehensive IP solution where voice, data, and streamed multimedia can be given to users on an ‘anywhere, anytime’ basis, and at higher data rates than previous generations.”