Global mobile subscriptions to reach 9.3 billion by 2019

The number of global mobile subscriptions is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2019, according to infrastructure vendor Ericsson. The vendor’s latest Mobility Report also reveals that, of these 9.3 billion subscriptions, more than 60 per cent – 5.6 billion – will be smartphones.

To support the growth in smartphone usage, WCDMA/HSPA networks are expected to cover 90 per cent of the world’s population by 2019. Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of the world’s population will also be covered by 4G/LTE networks, Ericsson added. Currently, smartphones represent 25 to 30 per cent of all mobile phone subscriptions, yet account for the majority (55 per cent) of mobile phones sold in Q3, according to the Mobility Report.

“The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue,” said Douglas Gilstrap, SVP and head of strategy at Ericsson.

“It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the two billion mark. Between now and 2019, smartphone subscriptions will triple.”

Gilstrap added that the trend will be driven by uptake in China and other emerging markets as lower-priced smartphone models become available.

Other findings from Ericsson’s Mobility Report reveal that smartphone traffic will grow ten-fold between 2013 and 2019, reaching 10 exabytes. Video is growing 55 per cent annually, and will represent more than 50 per cent of the mobile data traffic, while social networking and web services will account for around 10 per cent each in 2019.

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