Business News, — June 7, 2012 0:58 — 0 Comments
Mobile subscriptions set to rise from 6.2bn now to 9bn by 2017, according to report from Ericsson
The number of devices connected to mobile phone networks will overtake the number of people on Earth within five years, according to the technology group Ericsson.
There will be 9bn mobile subscriptions by 2017, up from 6.2bn at the start of this year, while the US census bureau predicts the global population will have reached 7.4 billion in five years.
Driven by demand for video, internet usage and storage of electronic files in the ”cloud” rather than on home or office computers, traffic over mobile networks will grow even faster than subscriptions.
Ericsson, which builds and manages networks, monitored the traffic on its own circuits to produce its second Traffic and Market Report. It predicts data traffic – as opposed to voice calls – will grow 15 times over by 2017, by which time 85% of humanity will live within range of a mobile broadband signal, up from half of the population today.
Within that time, half of us will be in range of superfast, 4G mobile networks, up from 315 million today.
“In 2008, there were 4bn mobile subscriptions,” said Ericsson’s chief executive, Hans Vestberg. “By 2017 there will be close to 9bn subscriptions. With this kind of mobility and connectivity everywhere, there will be no differentiation between a business user and a private user.”
Ericsson found three types of smartphone were responsible for most of the internet traffic from handsets. Internet usage is highest among owners of iPhones, followed by Android and Windows Phone subscribers.
For these “high traffic” phone owners, the first fix often begins before getting out of bed. Some 40% of all smartphone owners access the internet and their apps before putting their slippers on, and usage peaks during the daily commute at 70%.
With Android and Apple phones having become mass market consumer goods in western nations over the past year or two, the impact on networks has been sizeable. Mobile data traffic almost doubled between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012.
Mobile broadband subscriptions have grown 60% year on year to 1.1bn, with 5bn predicted by 2017. By then, the number of mobile laptops and tablets is expected to be level with the number of fixed broadband lines, at around 650m subscriptions.
Increasingly, most people’s experience of the internet will be through a mobile phone, and the number of handsets with an internet connection is expected to grow from 700m at the end of last year to 3bn in five years.
Screen size affects internet use, which is four times as much on laptops than on high traffic smartphones – two gigabytes versus 500 megabytes per month. In five years, traffic will have grown to an estimated 8GB for laptops versus 1GB for smartphones.
In the first quarter of this year, there were 6.2bn mobile subscriptions, less than the estimated 7bn world population. However, with individuals owning multiple devices, the number of subscribers stood at 4.2bn.
Western Europe already has 126% penetration, while Africa has just 55%, with families or villages often sharing a single phone. Africa already has more subscriptions than Europe, however, with 680m compared to 540m for Europe.
China has 1bn subscriptions, and along with India accounted for the majority of the 170m new subscriptions in the first quarter.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010