Ericsson said the number of global mobile broadband subscribers grew by around 25 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2015, taking the total to 3.1 billion by the end of the period.
In an interim update to its regular Ericsson Mobility Report, the infrastructure company revealed that LTE subscribers accounted for the lion's share of the growth in mobile broadband contracts, with 115 million users added during the second quarter. WCDMA and HSPA also recorded growth, with 50 million subscriptions added in the period.
Rising mobile broadband user numbers had an inevitable effect on mobile data traffic. Ericsson said combined uplink and downlink traffic in the second quarter grew by 55 per cent year-on-year, and 15 per cent sequentially, to over 4,000 petabytes.
Smartphone sales hit 340 million units during the second quarter, and Ericsson said these devices accounted for at least 75 per cent of total mobile phone sales compared to 65 per cent during the same period in 2014. The company predicted there is still a lot of room for smartphone sales growth, with the devices associated with around 45 per cent of global mobile subscriptions.
The company said the total number of mobile subscriptions during the second quarter grew by 53 million to 7.2 billion. However, it noted that the actual number of users is around 4.9 billion, with the difference accounted for by users holding multiple subscriptions.
Africa saw the highest growth in mobile subscriptions, accounting for 20 million of the 53 million added during the period. Central and Eastern Europe eclipsed Western Europe in terms of subscription growth during the quarter, with 5 million subscriptions added compared to fewer than a million in the west. Additions in the Middle East totalled 1 million, Ericsson said.
Penetration in Central and Eastern Europe hit 141 per cent by the end of the second quarter, while in Western Europe the figure was 128 per cent. Middle East penetration hit 110 per cent, with Africa sitting at 80 per cent.
- see Ericsson's interim report (PDF)
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