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Mobile to connect the world, Ericsson report finds

11 November 2013, 17:08 Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - Mobile subscriptions continue to grow at an exponential pace as the world pivots toward the technology a report has shown.

According to the Ericsson Mobility Report for November 2013, there are around 6.6 billion mobile subscribers globally. The growth though, is being driven by Asia.

Though the initial figures appear to show that almost every person has a mobile device, Ericsson was careful to point out that the actual number was significantly lower.

"The actual number of subscribers however, is lower, at around 4.5 billion. This is because many people have several subscriptions," the report says.

Asia-Pacific countries lead the world in terms of mobile subscriptions, and China, specifically with over 1.2 billion subscriptions, dwarfing India in second place at 742 million, and around a third more than the entire continent of Africa at 803 million.


The Ericsson report said that smartphones made up around 25% to 30% of mobile subscriptions and in the last three months, smartphone sales made up 55% of all mobiles.

The growth of smartphones increases demand for mobile broadband services and the report found that higher speed LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks continued to grow.

"With around 25 million additions in Q3 2013, LTE is growing rapidly and has reached 150 million subscriptions, while WCDMA/HSPA has the highest net additions at around 80 million. Almost all of these 3G/4G subscriptions have access to GSM/EDGE as a fallback. The number of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions did not increase."

Based on growth trajectories, Ericsson predicted that mobile broadband growth would exceed two billion subscriptions in 2013.

It is this area that Asia demonstrates the adoption of mobile services.

The report showed that Asia-Pacific countries, including China and India, accounted for 64 million out of 113 million new mobile subscriptions in the last three months.

Comparatively, Africa accounted for 25 million and Latin America eight million subscriptions over the same period.

Ericsson predicted that mobile subscriptions would top 9.9 billion by 2019, and that mobile broadband subscriptions would quadruple in growth to reach eight billion in six years.

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