Ericsson Report Notes Smartphone Subscriptions Projected to Reach Over 5 Billion By 2019

Remember when pagers were all the rage? Times have changed since then, and in place of pagers, most people now own smartphones. According to data presented in the most recent Ericcson Mobility Report, the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide has grown by about 7 percent year-over-year to 6 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Around 113 million of those are new subscriptions, all of which are leading to unprecedented levels of mobile data traffic.

By the end of 2019, Ericcson figures mobile subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion. Out of those, 5.6 billion will belong to smartphones, surpassing feature phones, which will account for 3.7 billion.

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The growth will mostly come from regions like Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa due to the abundance of cheaper devices. There's been a concerted effort by phone makers to serve emerging markets less expensive smartphone models, and it seems to be working.

What this all boils down to is a 10X growth in mobile traffic from 2013 to 2019, going from 600MB to 2.2GB per month. Ericsson says the rising number of smartphone subscriptions is the main driver for mobile data traffic growth, which itself is mainly driven by video. To put it into perspective, mobile traffic generated from smartphones is already exceeding that from mobile PCs, tablets, and mobile routers.