Ericsson has published a new Traffic and Market Report that predicts 85% of the world’s population will have 3G coverage by 2017. In addition, 50% of the world’s population will be covered by 4G LTE networks.
Smartphone ownership will have reached around three billion in 2017, compared to 700 million in 2011, and there’ll be approaching nine billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. Ericsson has calculated there are currently 6.2 billion mobile phones worldwide.
Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and head of Strategy at Ericsson, said “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. Operators recognize 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.”
The volume of mobile data traffic doubled between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 - and is expected to grow 15-fold by the end of 2017. Mobile video is the main driver, although the report says smartphones are also a significant factor.