Ericsson Mobility Report: Global smartphones tripling to 5.6 billion by 2019
A new study by telecoms hardware maker Ericsson claim that smartphones subscriptions globally expected to triple by 2019 and could end up forcing operators to roll out high-speed networks to cope with surging data traffic according to Ericsson, the world’s top mobile network equipment maker. Ericsson said the growth in smartphone devices has now overtaken that of conventional handsets, accounting for 55% of new mobile subscriptions in the first nine months of 2013. The Swedish company estimates there were 4.5 billion people subscribed to a mobile plan during the first three quarters of the year although one person counts as two subscribers if one has two separate subscription plans that help explain the high number. In the third quarter of this year, Ericsson estimates that there were 113 million new subscriptions. The maker expects 5.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally by the end of 2019, up from 1.9 billion in 2013, as more people in emerging markets buy cheap smartphones instead of basic phones. This will help drive a surge in mobile data traffic by ten times between 2013 and 2019, mostly thanks to video. It expected monthly smartphone traffic would reach 10 exabytes (one billion bytes) by 2019. The report also estimates that some 150 million people signed up for a mobile broadband plan this year, an increase of 40 per cent on the same period in 2012.
Ericsson is painting a rosy picture for mobile high-speed Internet as it expects the considerable uptake to continue and predicts that by 2019 some 9.3 billion mobile subscriptions will be active and 5.6 billion of those will be for smartphone handsets. The report expects smartphones would become more affordable while infrastructure build outs in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa would help drive usage. More than a quarter of a billion smartphones shipped in the third quarter was an increase of 45% from the same quarter last year. Telecom operators will have to expand high-capacity 4G to cover more than 65% of the world’s population by 2019, up from around 10% last year. Ericsson report revealed that 55% of all mobile phones sold in the third quarter were smartphones and the Swedish multinational expect that in 2016 the total number of smartphone subscriptions would overtake basic phone subscriptions. It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the two billion mark. Ericsson also forecasts mobile coverage becoming nearly ubiquitous by the end of the decade. The report expects that by 2019 at least 90% of the world’s population will have 3G networks coverage while around 65% will have access to LTE networks.