With close to 85 per cent of the world already having access to mobile phones, even as quaint as feature phones with basic facilities of telephone calls, and messages, a report by Swedish phone manufacturer Ericsson finds that up to 85 per cent of the world could be connected to high speed mobile 3G internet by 2017.
“Today, people see access to the internet as a prerequisite for any device. This mindset results in growing demand for mobile broadband and increased data traffic,” said Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and head of Strategy at Ericsson. “Operators recognise this business opportunity and are aiming to facilitate this growth and provide good user experience with fast data speeds through high capacity networks.”
“Today, around 75% of the HSPA networks worldwide have been upgraded to a peak speed of 7.2 Mbps or above and around 40% has been upgraded to 21 Mbps,” he added, noting that the thought of 3G mobile coverage in most parts of the world was only a couple of years off from becoming a reality.
The Ericsson press release forecasted that mobile broadband subscriptions, currently thought to be at one billion by the end of 2011, would reach five billion by end of 2017.
But the mindset, of which Gilstrap talks about, could be moving at a slightly faster pace. Smartphone subscriptions will number around three billion in 2017 – compared to 700 million in 2011.
The report also foresees that by 2017, half the world will be covered by LTE/4G.
Asia, Africa, video power mobile growth
According to the report,, which records variations between countries and regions, mobile net additions saw spikes from China and India.
China added the most subscriptions for a single country in Quarter 1 of 2012 with 39 million. This was followed by India with 25 million. The Asia Pacific region added in total 93 million subscriptions, followed by Africa with 30 million.
Comparing mobile data traffic, which showed a consistent increase- between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 data traffic doubled . The prime driver for the growth was greater consumption of video over mobile networks.
Smartphones are also, and will remain, a key data traffic driver. The report expects mobile data traffic to grow by 15 times between 2011 and 2017.
Everything is mobile
One main continuous trend identified in the report by the Swedish manufacturer is that everything is going mobile.
This evolution is mainly being driven by people’s increasing demand for anywhere, anytime connectivity and the use of video, cloud-based services and the internet. Another component is also machine-to-machine connectivity which too continues to register consistent increases.
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