3.6 billion new smartphone subscribers by 2019, and most of them from APAC

The world will add more than three and a half billion new smartphone subscriptions before the end of the decade — with the Asia Pacific region contributing to more than half the growth, according to a new report by Ericsson. By 2019, there will be over nine billion total mobile subscriptions worldwide, with over 60 per cent of them smartphones.

According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, “The number of mobile subscriptions worldwide grew approximately seven per cent year-on-year during Q1 2014. The number of mobile broadband subscriptions grew even faster over this period — at a rate of 35 per cent year-on-year, reaching 2.3 billion. The amount of data usage per subscription also continued to grow steadily. Around 65 per cent of all mobile phones sold in Q1 2014 were smartphones.

The report’s authors say that these factors together have contributed to a 65 per cent increase in mobile/cellular data traffic between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014.

As to the outlook for the rest of the decade, the report suggests total mobile subscriptions will grow from 6.8 billion in Q1 2014 to 9.2 billion by the end of 2019 — including 5.6 billion smartphones.

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Global mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to reach 7.6 billion by 2019, and will gain an increasing share of the total mobile subscriptions over time. By the end of 2019, mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to account for more than 80 per cent of all mobile subscriptions, compared to around 30 per cent in 2013,” says Ericsson.

Mobile broadband will also gain a larger share of total broadband subscriptions in many markets, complementing fixed broadband, and in certain segments replacing it.

Video

Ericsson’s report provides futher evidence of the growing significance of video to the mobile experience. “Video is the largest and fastest-growing segment of mobile data traffic. It is expected to grow around 13 times by 2019, by which time it is forecasted to account for over 50 per cent of all global mobile data traffic.

The report also highlists the continuing importance of social networking which, says Ericsson, constitutes more than ten per cent of current total mobile data traffic. The company predicts it will grow by another order of magnitude between 2013 and 2019. “The share will remain at the same level in 2019, even though social networking increasingly will include data-rich content.

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In its story about the report, web site Statista noted that “A lot of that growth will happen in the lower end of the market, which is why many experts think that Apple needs a significantly cheaper iPhone to participate in future growth.

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