According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, The total number of mobile subscriptions in Q1 2015 was around 7.2 billion, including 108 million new subscriptions
Global mobile subscriptions are growing by 1.5 percent quarter-on-quarter and around 5 percent year-on-year. India grew the most in terms of net additions (+26 million), followed by China (+8 million), Myanmar (+5 million), Indonesia (+4 million) and Japan (+4 million). Global mobile penetration reached 99 percent in Q1 2015. Smartphones accounted for close to 75 percent of all mobile phones sold in Q1 2015, compared to around 65 percent during Q1 2014. However, around 40 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions are associated with smartphones, leaving considerable room for further uptake.
Mobile subscriptions per area
China 1.295 M
India 970 M
Rest of APAC 1.430 M
Europe 1.120 M
Africa 910 M
LATAM 730 M
N-America 385 M
Most mobile broadband devices are, and will continue to be, smartphones. Many consumers in developing markets first experience the internet on a smartphone, usually due to limited access to fixed broadband. 2014 saw more than 700 million smartphone subscriptions added, due to the addition of new subscribers and existing subscribers exchanging their basic phones for smartphones. It took over five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, a milestone that was hit in 2012, and less than two years to reach the second billion. Smartphone subscriptions are set to more than double by 2020. By this time, 70 percent of the world´s population will have a smartphone.
By 2016 the number of smartphone subscriptions will surpass those for basic phones. Smartphones make up the majority of mobile broadband devices today and subscriptions are expected to have more than doubled by 2020. This is due to greater affordability in developing markets such as Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. 5G subscriptions will be commercially available in 2020, and subscription uptake is expected to be faster than for 4G. This growth will be driven to a large extent by new use cases, especially machine-type communication.
There is also a growing number of connected devices, mainly driven by an increasing range of applications and business models, and supported by falling modem costs. A strong foundation for this growth is the extensive cellular coverage, with an estimated 90 percent of the world’s population covered. Mobile phones have been the largest growth segment amongst connected devices. Looking forward, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is expected to show strong growth, driven by new use cases, e.g., in cars, machines and utility metering. The connected home is driving connectivity in consumer electronics – mostly over Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
In total, 26 billion connected devices are expected by 2020, of which almost 15 billion will be phones, tablets, laptops and PCs. The total excludes passive sensors and radio frequency ID tags.
Mobile data traffic
Data traffic grew around 12 percent quarter-on-quarter and 55 percent year-on-year. Data traffic in Q1 2015 was 55 percent higher than in Q1 2014. By 2020, 80 percent of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones. Mobile data consumption varies a lot between different user segments. In fact, in mature mobile broadband markets, 10 percent of subscribers consume around 50 percent of all data traffic. The growth in data traffic is being driven by the rise of mobile data subscriptions, along with a continued increase in average data volume per subscription.
Video continues to be the key growth factor, with 60 percent of all mobile data traffic forecast to be from online video by 2020. In many mobile networks, 40-60 percent of video traffic is from YouTube.
Music streaming is gaining popularity, but functions such as content caching and offline playlists limit the impact on traffic growth. However, audio traffic is still expected to increase in line with total mobile traffic growth. The relative share of traffic generated by web browsing will have declined from 10 percent in 2014 to 5 percent by 2020 mainly as a result of stronger growth in the video category. Consumer preferences are shifting towards more video and app-based mobile use relative to web browsing.
The emergence of new applications can shift the relative volumes of different types of traffic, but the proliferation of specific devices will also affect the traffic mix – for example, tablets are associated with a much higher share of online video traffic than smartphones.