Tech Analyst Forecasts Smartphone Subscriptions To Triple By 2019
November 11, 2013

Analyst Forecasts Smartphone Subscriptions To Triple By 2019

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

By the end of the decade a lot more people will be connecting through smartphones, with as much as two-thirds of the world’s population covered by LTE, or fourth generation mobile networks. This will come as the number of smartphone users triple by 2019, while the amount of smartphone traffic is projected to increase by a factor of 10.

This is according to the latest industry forecast from telecom vendor Ericsson, which reported that 2013 has already seen robust sales of smartphones. Vendors shipped a total of 258.4 million smartphones, setting a new record for units shipped in a single quarter. IDC states that this was a 20 million unit increase, as reported by PCWorld.

The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report noted that the total number of smartphone subscriptions will reach 1.9 billion by the end of this year. Mobile subscriptions could reach 9.3 billion by 2018, with 5.6 billion of these being for smartphones – nearly triple that of today.

By 2019 nearly 90 percent of the world’s population will be covered by WCDMA/HSPA while 65 percent will be covered by LTE. Currently, smartphones represent just 25-30 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions, but as Ericsson noted these accounted for the majority – 55 percent – of mobile phones sold in the third quarter of 2013.

“The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue,” Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy at Ericsson, said in a statement. “It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the 2 billion mark. Between now and 2019, smartphone subscriptions will triple.”

“Interestingly, this trend will be driven by uptake in China and other emerging markets as lower-priced smartphone models become available,” Gilstrap added.

PCWorld also that the smartphone growth won’t be limited to the developed world of Europe and North America. Instead it will be driven by regions including the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa, where the increasingly affordable smartphones will see greater adoption, especially as people trade in their more basic handsets.

All those new users will mean increased traffic, and this could grow by a factor of 10 by 2019 – reaching 10 exabytes. Video is expected to grow annually by 55 percent, and will represent more than 50 percent of mobile data traffic, while social media and other web-related services will each account for 10 percent by 2019.

Along with more advanced mobile devices, this market will see LTE growth, which will see growth in the United States from about 20 percent this year to 85 percent by 2019. Even in Europe, where the well-developed 3G networks have resulted in slower LTE adoption, will see an increased switch to 4G including LTE by 2019.

This surge in mobile smartphone adoption is also changing the industry landscape.

Last week research firm IHS iSuppli reported that this year’s combined smartphone and tablet factory revenue will exceed the rest of the entire consumer electronics market, as worldwide original equipment manufacturer (OEM) factory revenue for media and PC tablets along with 3G/4G mobile handsets will amount to $354.3 billion for 2013. This is three percent more than the $344.4 billion for OEM factory revenue for the consumer electronics (CE) market.