Ericsson said in a new report that the number of global mobile subscriptions increased by 68 million during the fourth quarter of 2015 to reach 7.3 billion by the end of the year.
The special Mobile World Congress edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report said mobile subscriptions are rising by around 3 per cent year-on-year and are expected to reach 9.1 billion in 2021. In the fourth quarter of last year, India registered the strongest growth in terms of net addition with a rise of 21 million, followed by China with 6 million, the U.S. and Myanmar with 5 million apiece and Nigeria with 3 million.
Smartphones accounted for around 75 per cent of all mobile phones sold in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 70 per cent in the same period of 2014. Today, around 45 per cent of all mobile phone subscriptions are associated with smartphones.
In terms of mobile broadband take-up, the report said the number of subscriptions is rising globally by around 25 per cent a year and increased by about 200 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
LTE continues to increase its share of overall subscriptions, meanwhile. The number of LTE subscriptions has now reached around 1 billion, with 160 million added in the fourth quarter of 2015. The report also forecasts that 5G subscriptions will reach 150 million in 2021, compared to 4.1 billion LTE subscriptions.
In terms of data traffic, the report said accumulated mobile data traffic rose to 120 Exabytes between 2010 and 2015, and is projected to rise to 1,600 Exabytes in the forecast period from 2016-2021.
Ericsson said it increased its mobile data traffic forecast in November last year. In the fourth quarter of 2015, data traffic increased by 65 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014 and is now expected to rise 45 per cent annually through 2021. Video streaming remains the largest generator of mobile data traffic, followed by social networking.
- see the Ericsson Mobility Report, February 2016
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