Smartphone subscriptions to surpass basic phones in third quarter: Report

Smartphone subscriptions to surpass basic phones in third quarter: Report

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Wed 1 Jun 2016, 5:58 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Jun 2016, 11:34 PM

Smartphone subscriptions will almost double from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion by 2021; and are forecast to surpass subscriptions for basic phones in Q3 this year, the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report has found.
Also revealed in the report, is the fact that there are five billion mobile subscribers in the world today, which is testament to the phenomenal growth of mobile technology in a relatively short period of time. The report also highlighted a dramatic shift in teen viewing habits, with the use of cellular data for smartphone video growing 127 per cent in just 15 months.

Over a period of four years, from 2011-2015, there has been a 50 per cent drop in the time teens spend watching TV/video on a TV screen, and in contrast an 85 per cent increase in those viewing TV/video on a smartphone. This, and the fact that the upcoming generation of mobile users are the heaviest consumers of data for smartphone video streaming - Wi-Fi and cellular combined - makes them the most important group for cellular operators to monitor.
In addition, the report revealed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to overtake mobile phones as the largest category of connected device by 2018. Between 2015 and 2021, the number of IoT connected devices is expected to grow 23 per cent annually, of which cellular IoT is forecast to have the highest growth rate. Of the 28 billion total devices that will be connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.
Rima Qureshi, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Ericsson, said: "IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today."
Western Europe will lead the way in adding IoT connections - the number of IoT devices in this market is projected to grow 400 per cent by 2021. This will principally be driven by regulatory requirements, for example for intelligent utility meters, and a growing demand for connected cars including the EU e-call directive to be implemented in 2018.
In 2016, a long anticipated milestone is being passed with commercial LTE networks supporting downlink peak data speeds of 1 Gbps. Devices that support 1 Gbps are expected in the second half of 2016, initially in markets such as Japan, US, South Korea and China, but rapidly spreading to other regions. Mobile users will enjoy extremely fast time to content thanks to this enhanced technology, which will enable up to two thirds faster download speeds compared with the fastest technology available today. The report also revealed that mobile broadband subscriptions will grow fourfold in the Middle East and Africa between 2015 and 2021. Mobile data traffic in India is set to grow fifteen times by 2021; and despite being the most mature market, US mobile traffic will grow 50 per cent in 2016 alone. Global mobile data traffic grew 60 per cent between Q1, 2015 and Q1, 2016, due to rising numbers of smartphone subscriptions and increasing data consumption per subscriber. By the end of 2021, around 90 per cent of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones.
LTE subscriptions also grew at a high rate during Q1, 2016, with 150 million new subscriptions during the quarter - driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks - reaching a total of 1.2 billion worldwide. LTE peak data speeds of 1 Gbps are anticipated to be commercially available in 2016. -

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