Around 60 per cent of the world’s population will be covered by LTE in 2018, with 3G (WCDMA/HSPA ) the dominant technology, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.
With LTE subscriptions passing the one billion mark in 2017, and smartphone subscriptions hitting 4.5 billion globally by 2018, Ericsson forecasts that total data traffic volume will see a 12-fold increase over the five-year period.
Mobile video traffic will grow 60 per cent annually and make up 46 per cent of all data traffic by 2018, compared with 30 per cent currently.
3G (WCDMA/HSPA) will grow partly at the expense of 2G (GSM/EDGE) to become the dominant connectivity technology in 2018, but LTE will grow rapidly and actually lead the way in North America.
LTE penetration in Western Europe is forecast to be 35 per cent at the end of the forecast period.
Although it took five years (2007-2012) for the market to reach one billion smartphones, Ericsson predicts the next 1 billion will be added in just two years. At the end of 2012, there were 1.2 billion smartphone subscriptions.
The number of mobile subscriptions increased 8 per cent year-on-year to reach 6.4 billion (4.5 billion users) in the first quarter of 2013. It is predicted there will be 9.1 billion subscriptions by 2018.
China was the biggest contributor to overall subscriber growth in Q1 2013, with 30 million additions, while the APAC and Africa regions both added 27 million subscribers during the period.
Around 20 million LTE subscriptions were added while there were 60 million 3G and 30 million GSM/EDGE-only additions. Global mobile penetration hit 90 per cent during the period, with smartphones accounting for half of mobile phone sales.
You can view the full report here.