By 2020, global smart phone subscriptions are projected to double from the current figure of 2.7 billion to 6.1 billion as depicted in the latest mobility report issued by Ericsson on Tuesday.
The semi-annual report by the Swedish network technology firm is based on data gathered from the networks of 100 telecommunications carriers worldwide. Between the third quarter of 2013 and the same period this year, growth in global mobile data traffic surged by 60%. According to Ericsson, that trend is fueled in large part by continuing uptake in mobile video that is expected to increase ten-fold and represent 55% of all mobile data usage by 2020. At the same time, technological advancements that have brought greater power and larger screen sizes to smart phones, tablet PCs and other mobile devices are said to be driving both mobile device uptake and the popularity of mobile video content and applications. While 20% of the world’s population has the ability to access wireless fourth-generation (4G) LTE services today, 4G LTE coverage is expected to encompass 70% of the world’s population by 2020. The report also projects that commercial deployment of 5G wireless networks will be in full swing by 2020.
Ericsson also noted that global mobile subscriptions to basic as well as smart phone services are continuing to grow “at a steady pace of around 6% year-over-year.” India, Africa and the Pacific region account for much of this growth, and the report predicts that 90% of the world’s population over the age of six will subscribe to mobile phone services by 2020. Calling that statistic “astonishing,” Patrick Cerwall, the executive editor of the mobility report, remarked: “it really talks about the connected world where everyone will have a connection in one way or another.”