With 21 mn new subscriptions, India tops global growth in mobile users in Q12016: Ericsson Report

With 21 mn new subscriptions, India tops global growth in mobile users in Q12016: Ericsson Report

Author | exchange4media News Service | Tuesday, Jun 07,2016 8:06 AM

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With 21 mn new subscriptions, India tops global growth in mobile users in Q12016: Ericsson Report

Internet of Things (IoT) connections will surpass mobile by 2018, according to communications giant Ericsson. In the firm's annual Mobility Report, it said that between 2015 and 2021, the number of IoT connected devices is expected to grow 23 percent annually, of which cellular IoT is forecast to have the highest growth rate. Of the 28 billion total devices that will be connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.

According to Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson, “IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”

Mobile subscriptions are growing around 3 percent year-on-year globally and reached 7.4 billion in Q1 2016.  India grew the most in terms of net additions during the quarter (+21 million), followed by Myanmar (+5 million), Indonesia (+5 million), the US (+3 million) and Pakistan (+3 million).

Western Europe will spearhead in adding IoT connections – the number of IoT devices in this market is projected to grow 400 percent by 2021. This will principally be driven by regulatory requirements, for example for intelligent utility meters, and a growing demand for connected cars including the EU e-call directive to be implemented in 2018.

Smartphone subscriptions continue to increase and are forecast to surpass those for basic phones in Q3 this year. By 2021, smartphone subscriptions will almost double from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion. The report also reveals that there are now 5 billion mobile subscribers – unique users – in the world today, which is testament to the phenomenal growth of mobile technology in a relatively short period of time.

Mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 55 percent annually through 2021, when it should account for over two-thirds of all mobile data traffic. While social networking will grow by 41 per cent annually over the coming six years, its relative share of traffic will decline from 15 percent in 2015 to around 10 percent in 2021, as a result of the stronger growth in the video category.

The rest of the application categories have annual growth rates ranging from 19 to 37 per cent, so are shrinking in proportion to the whole. The trend is accentuated by the growing use of embedded video in social media and web pages, which is considered video traffic in this context.

The emergence of new applications can shift the relative volumes of different types of traffic, but the proliferation of different sized smart devices will also affect the traffic mix – for example, tablets are associated with a higher share of online video traffic than smartphones. Typically, tablets and smartphones are used equally for watching short video content, but tablets are used more for watching longer video content.

Mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 55 percent annually through 2021, when it should account for over two-thirds of all mobile data traffic. While social networking will grow by 41 percent annually over the coming six years, its relative share of traffic will decline from 15 percent in 2015 to around 10 percent in 2021, as a result of the stronger growth in the video category.

The rest of the application categories have annual growth rates ranging from 19 to 37 percent, so are shrinking in proportion to the whole. The trend is accentuated by the growing use of embedded video in social media and web pages.

The emergence of new applications can shift the relative volumes of different types of traffic, but the proliferation of different sized smart devices will also affect the traffic mix – for example, tablets are associated with a higher share of online video traffic than smartphones. Typically, tablets and smartphones are used equally for watching short video content, but tablets are used more for watching  longer video content.

Detailed in the report is a dramatic shift in teen viewing habits – the rampant use of cellular data for smartphone video grew 127 percent in just 15 months (2014-15). Over a period of four years (2011-15) there has been a 50 percent drop in the time teens spend watching TV/video on a TV screen, and in contrast an 85 percent increase in those viewing TV/video on a smartphone. This, and the fact that the upcoming generation of mobile users are the heaviest consumers of data for smartphone video streaming (Wi-Fi and cellular combined), makes them the most important group for cellular operators to monitor.

In 2016, a long anticipated milestone is being passed with commercial LTE networks supporting downlink peak data speeds of 1 Gbps. Devices that support 1 Gbps are expected in the second half of 2016, initially in markets such as Japan, US, South Korea and China, but rapidly spreading to other regions. Mobile users will enjoy extremely fast time to content thanks to this enhanced technology, which will enable up to two thirds faster download speeds compared with the fastest technology available today.

Mobile broadband subscriptions will grow four-fold in the Middle East and Africa between 2015 and 2021; mobile data traffic in India will grow 15 times by 2021; and despite being the most mature market, US mobile traffic will grow 50 percent in 2016 alone.

Global mobile data traffic grew 60 percent between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, due to rising numbers of smartphone subscriptions and increasing data consumption per subscriber. By the end of 2021, around 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones.

In terms of LTE subscriptions, there were 150 million new subscriptions during the quarter – driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks – reaching a total of 1.2 billion worldwide. LTE peak data speeds of 1 Gbps are anticipated to be commercially available in 2016.

5G is expected to start more quickly than anticipated, and spectrum harmonization is needed between countries planning early roll-outs. This is in addition to the current process for WRC-19, which focuses on spectrum for commercial 5G deployments beyond 2020.

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