For the next six years, nearly 2.6 billion new subscribers – averaging more than one million each day – will be added to mobile broadband networks, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report released Tuesday.
The June edition of the report shows the highest year-on-year mobile data growth globally since 2013, led by massive growth in India, and highlights the underlying need for mobile data.
The use of smartphones and easy access to mobile internet services comprise a major part of the traffic numbers. By the end of 2022, says Ericsson, total smartphone mobile data traffic will have increased by nine times, reaching 66 exabytes per month – which will also account for 90% of all mobile data traffic in the world.
The report also forecasts that by next year, LTE will overtake GSM as the largest access technology by number of subscriptions – which would make LTE the fastest-growing mobile technology ever, Ericsson says. It has taken only five years for LTE to cover 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for W-CDMA/HSPA. In the first quarter of this year alone, 250 million new LTE subscriptions were added, said Niklas Heuveldop, chief strategy officer and head of Technology and Emerging Business at Ericsson.
“4G subscriptions are increasing faster than ever, VoLTE uptake is accelerating and traffic growth has reached levels we have not seen since 2013,” he said.
While LTE uptake is driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks, 5G deployment will also be driven by the need for enhanced mobile broadband capabilities as well as industry solutions for efficiency and automation, Ericsson says.
Thanks to industry advances in 5G development – as well as the accelerated 3GPP timetable for Non-Standalone 5G New Radio (NR) – the Mobility Report expects more than half a billion 5G subscriptions to be activated by 2022, not including IoT connections. 5G is also expected to cover around 15% of the world’s population by that time.
See the full report here [PDF].