Monday, November 11, 2013

Ericsson: Mobility Forecast Shows Regional Differences

The proliferation of smartphones worldwide is forcing rapid changes in mobile networks, according to the latest edition of the semi-annual Ericsson Mobility Report, but regional differences will persist through 2019 in terms of the pace of LTE adoption.

The report leverages data traffic measures from a large base of live networks covering all regions of the world, along with internal forecasts and other relevant studies to provide insights into the current traffic and market trends.

Some key findings:

  • As of Q3 2013, total mobile subscriptions are at around 6.6 billion, including 113 million new subscriptions added during the third quarter. The actual number of people with their own mobiles is around 4.5 billion.
  • Smartphone accounted for around 55 percent of all mobile phones sold in Q3 2013, compared to around 40 percent for the full year in 2012. Of all mobile phone subscriptions, 25-30 percent are associated with smartphones.
  • Global mobile broadband subscriptions passed 2 billion in 2013, and are predicted to grow 4 times by 2019, reaching 8 billion.
  • The amount of data sent by each smartphone will nearly quadruple by to 2019 -- from 600 MB per month today to 2.2 GB.
  • Online video is the biggest contributor to mobile traffic volumes, constituting 25 percent of total smartphone traffic and 40 percent of total tablet traffic.
  • Currently, 80 percent of all subscriptions are on 2G.  In 2019, 80 percent of the subscriptions will be 3G or 4G instead.
  • GSM/EDGE will continue to represent a large share of total mobile subscriptions through 2019 because less affluent users entering networks ingrowing markets will likely choose a low cost mobile phone and subscription. In addition, it takes time for the installed base of phones to be upgraded.
  • LTE is being deployed and built-out in all regions, and will reach around 2.6 billion subscriptions in 2019.
  • Basic phones currently number around 4.5 billion today and are forecast to decline to around 3 billion in 2019.
  • Total smartphone subscriptions will reach 1.9 billion at the end of 2013 and are expected to grow to 5.6 billion in 2019. 
  • In 2019, almost all handsets in Western Europe and North America will be smartphones, compared to 50 percent of handset subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa.
  • The number of mobile subscriptions for mobile PCs, tablets and mobile routers is expected to grow from 300 million in 2013 to around 800 million in 2019.
  • In North America, LTE will represent the majority of subscriptions in the region in 2016, growing to around 85 percent in 2019. GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions will progressively decline.
  • Latin America has a large GSM/EDGE subscriber base and in 2019 WCDMA/HSPA will remain the dominant technology, however GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions
  • will still be significant.
  • In Western Europe WCDMA/HSPA is the dominant technology today. By the end of the forecast period, LTE will make up around 55 percent of the subscriptions base in Western Europe.
  • Mobile data traffic is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 45 percent (2013-2019). This will result in an increase of around 10 times by the end of 2019.
  • In 2013, total mobile traffic generated by mobile phones exceeded that from mobile PCs, tablets and mobile routers for the first time. 

The 32-page report is here: