Mobile subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion by 2019, 5.6 billion of which will be for smartphones
Smartphone subscriptions are growing rapidly alongside 4G network rollout, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down according to new research.
Mobile phone subscriptions have grown by around 7% years on year during the third quarter 2013, with the number of mobile broadband subscriptions vastly outstripping that figure at 40% in the same period, to exceed two billion this year.
The latest Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2019, and more than 60% of these – 5.6 billion – will be for smartphones.
To support the smartphone user experience, WCDMA/HSPA networks are predicted to cover 90% of the world's population by 2019. Moreover, almost two thirds (65%) of the world's population will be covered by 4G LTE networks.
With around 25 million additions in the third quarter this year, LTE is growing rapidly and has reached 150 million subscriptions, while WCDMA/HSPA has the highest net additions at around 80 million, the report stated. Almost all of these 3G and 4G subscriptions have access to GSM/EDGE as a fallback. The number of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions did not increase.
Currently, smartphones represent 25% to 30% percent of all mobile phone subscriptions, yet they account for the majority (55%) of mobile phones sold in the third quarter, the report showed. Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy at Ericsson, said: 'The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue. It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the 2 billion mark. Between now and 2019, smartphone subscriptions will triple.
'Interestingly, this trend will be driven by uptake in China and other emerging markets as lower-priced smartphone models become available,' he continued.
Smartphone traffic will grow by 10 times between 2013 and 2019, reaching 10 exabytes. Video is growing 55% annually, and will represent more than 50% of the mobile data traffic, while social networking and web services will account for around 10% each in 2019.