Worldwide mobile data traffic doubled between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the fourth quarter of 2012, and is expected to continue growing at a similar rate due to an upsurge in smartphone sales and increasing video traffic, according to new research from Ericsson.
The network vendor, which has collected data from networks around the world for some years, said that the growth path steepened between the third and fourth quarters of 2012, growing by 28 per cent. Of particular interest, the research found that mobile broadband subscribers expanding by 125 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 1.5 billion, reflecting a 50 per cent year-on-year increase.
Ericsson also claims that mobile penetration in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America is now more than 100 per cent, with Central and Eastern Europe leading the way with penetration rates of 133 per cent.
China, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India) posted the fastest growth in mobile subscriptions, according to the study.
However, a similar report from Cisco Systems claimed that global mobile data traffic grew only 70 per cent in 2012. The company said that global mobile data traffic reached 885 petabytes per month at the end of 2012, up from 520 petabytes per month at the end of 2011.
The Cisco study highlighted that, although LTE currently represents only 0.9 per cent of mobile connections, it already accounts for 14 per cent of mobile data traffic.
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