Ericsson: 85 Percent of the World to Have 3G by 2017

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — June 05, 2012

Ericsson releases its second Traffic and Market Report - On the Pulse of the Networked Society, revealing that by 2017, 85 percent of the world's population will have 3G coverage.

By 2017, 50 percent of the world's population will be covered by 4G, and smartphone subscriptions are expected to reach 3 billion. Mobile subscriptions reached 6.2 billion in Q1 2012 and 170 million new mobile subscriptions were added during the quarter. Global data traffic is forecast to grow 15 times by the end of 2017.

For many people around the world, the mobile phone will be the only means of accessing the internet. According to Ericsson's second Traffic and Market Report - On the Pulse of the Networked Society, released today, 85 percent of the world's population will have internet coverage via 3G by 2017 and there will be close to nine billion mobile subscriptions, compared to six billion by the end of 2011. Machine-to-machine subscriptions will add to this figure.

Mobile broadband subscriptions, meanwhile, are forecast to reach five billion in 2017, compared to 1 billion by the end of 2011.

Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy, Ericsson say, "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 percent of the HSPA networks worldwide have been upgraded to a peak speed of 7.2 Mbps or above and around 40 percent has been upgraded to 21 Mbps."

In the report, Ericsson also predicts that by 2017 half of the world's population will be covered by LTE/4G networks. Smartphone subscriptions will number around three billion in 2017 - compared to 700 million in 2011.

Total mobile data traffic continues to increase - between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 data traffic doubled - and the prime driver is video. Smartphones are also, and will remain, a key data traffic driver. The mobile data traffic will grow by 15 times between 2011 and 2017.

The data in the report also shows variations between countries and regions. In the case of mobile net additions, China added the most subscriptions for a single country in Q1 2012 with 39 million, followed by India with 25 million. The Asia Pacific region added in total 93 million subscriptions, followed by Africa with 30 million.

The main continuous trend identified in the report is that everything is going mobile. This evolution is mainly being driven by people's increasing demand for anywhere, anytime connectivity and the use of video, cloud-based services and the internet - but also by machine-to-machine connectivity.

About This Report

Ericsson has performed measurements since the early days of mobile broadband from a large base of live networks covering all regions of the world.

The aim of this report is to share analysis based on these measurements, internal forecasts and other relevant studies to provide insights into the current traffic and market trends.

We will continue to share traffic and market data, along with our analysis, on a regular basis.

For more information and to download the full report please visit:


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