Ericsson predicts 5bn mobile subscribers by 2016

7 Nov 2011

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Mobile data traffic is expected to grow by nearly 60pc per year between 2011 and 2016, Ericsson's Traffic and Market Data report says

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Mobile data traffic will grow tenfold between 2011 and 2016, driven mainly by the rise of video. Mobile broadband subscribers will grow from 900m in 2011 to 5bn in 2016.

In its new Traffic and Market Data report, Ericsson predicts that by 2016, users living on less than 1pc of the Earth’s total land area are set to generate around 60pc of mobile traffic.

“Ericsson performs a broad range of measurements in order to monitor the pulse of the networked society – measurements that we use to efficiently design our products and plan networks,” Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson Business Unit Networks, explained.

“This report offers snapshots that, together, show how a growing number of people and businesses benefit from mobility, broadband and the cloud."

According to the report, mobile broadband subscriptions will reach almost 5bn in 2016, up from the expected 900m by the end of 2011. That would represent 60pc year-on-year growth, at the same time as the data consumed by smartphone users is surging. Total smartphone traffic is expected to triple during 2011.

Across all devices, internet access will continue to drive mobile traffic development and mobile data traffic is expected to grow by nearly 60pc per year between 2011 and 2016, mainly driven by video.

30pc of Earth’s population will live in urban areas by 2016

By 2016, more than 30pc of the world’s population will live in metropolitan and urban areas with a density of more than 1,000 people per sq kilometre.

These areas represent less than 1pc of the Earth’s total land area, yet they are set to generate around 60pc of total mobile traffic.

Mobile broadband, new smartphone launches and applications uptake will continue to drive data consumption.

At the same time, there is strong momentum for smartphone uptake in all regions. Ericsson expects traffic generated by advanced smartphones to increase 12-fold to roughly equal mobile PC-generated traffic by 2016.

Ericsson’s presence in more than 180 countries, where it supports more than 1,000 networks, enables it to measure mobile voice and data volumes.

The result is a representative base for calculating world total mobile traffic in 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com