The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report predicts that 90 per cent of the world’s population over six years old will have a mobile phone by 2020, while smartphone subscriptions are forecast to top 6.1 billion.
Rima Qureshi, senior vice president, chief strategy officer and head of M&A, Ericsson, explained that this was due to “the falling cost of handsets, coupled with improved usability and increasing network coverage.”
“The Ericsson Mobility Report shows that in 2020 the world will be connected like never before,” she added.
According to the report, the fastest growth for new mobile subscriptions will come from India and China, with 18 million and 12 million net additions respectively in Q3 2014.
The report finds there is still plenty of room for growth in the smartphone sector. Ericsson claims that smartphones currently account for just 37 per cent of all mobile phone subscriptions, meaning that many users have yet to make the switch to the more feature-rich, internet-friendly option.
The report predicts a strong uptake in the coming years as the number rises from 2.7 billion smartphone subscriptions today to the forecasted 6.1 billion in 2020.
The report also found that video continues to dominate mobile traffic in 4G-dominated networks and that 5G is expected to be commercially deployed in 2020, with a faster uptake than 4G LTE.
The Ericsson report is not the only one to forecast the fast pace at which mobile devices are gaining popularity. Last month, Strategy Analytics estimated that 33 billion internet-connected devices will be used worldwide by 2020 – an average of 4.3 devices for every person on the planet.