Smartphone users will overtake fixed phone subscriptions by 2020

The number of smartphone users globally is growing steadily. In the US and Europe, the use of smartphones has levelled off, but across the globe, the number of smartphones in use is rocketing.

There are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions in the world today. By 2020, this figure is estimated to grow to 6.1 billion smartphone users globally. The growth will largely take place in developing markets, and it is likely that smartphone subscriptions will overtake the number of basic fixed phone subscriptions.

The Mobility Report from Ericsson was published last week, and it includes a wealth of data to back up its assertion. It gathered data from 100 carriers around the world and presents a detailed picture of future smartphone usage, including how many people will be on mobile networks and how they will be using their phones.

In just five years’ time, these figures suggest that over 70 per cent of the world’s population will be using smartphones, showing how entrenched these devices are in modern culture.

Carriers have big choices to make to accommodate such a rise in usage. Significant investment is needed in network infrastructure in order to manage demand. By 2020, smartphones are likely to account for 80 per cent of all mobile data usage and will still dominate a market that includes tablets and other internet-ready devices.

In fact, the report points to “total mobile” subscriptions reaching 9.2 billion in 2020. This figure includes Internet-of-things and M2M services as well as mobile broadband. Overall, the Mobility Report predicts there will be 26 billion connected devices five years from now.

There will be huge opportunities for companies looking to expand their markets. For businesses and startups creating apps and offering services, there will need to be improvements in their models to cope with demand and adapt to different consumer cultures.


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