Ericsson appears to backtrack on 50B connected device vision

03 JUN 2015

Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report contains a forecast of 26 billion connected devices by 2020, a big cut to its well-publicised previous vision of 50 billion in that timeframe.

The network vendor giant first outlined its vision for 50 billion connected devices in 2009, and has repeated the claim for more than five years as part of its Networked Society ideology.

Ericsson is now claiming the 50 billion number was a vision rather than a specific forecast, which it made before 4G was rolled out and smartphones had become ubiquitous.

“This is the first time we publish a connected devices forecast based on thorough analysis,” the company told Mobile World Live in an emailed statement. “The M2M area has been developing over several years, and while we now communicate our current view of the development in form of a forecast, the area is still new and much can change.”

Today, it says the industry is “well on the way to reaching the vision of 50 billion connected devices”.

No timeframe for that goal was mentioned in the report, but the company said that “50 billion connected devices is a good milestone that we believe will be reached sometime after 2020”.

Today’s market stands at around 13.5 billion, according to Ericsson, including (in order of size) mobile phones, PC/laptop/tablets/routers, connected Consumer Electronics, M2M and fixed phones.

Ericsson was the first of the big network vendors to forecast huge growth in the connected device and Internet of Things space. Cisco also said there will be 50 billion “connected things” in the next five years, while Huawei forecast there will be 100 billion terminals interconnected by the internet by 2025, as ICT becomes more embedded in everyday life and across all industries. ZTE has trumped all three with a forecast that there will be 100 billion connected devices as early as 2020.

Smartphone uptake continues to grow
Also in the Mobility Report, released today, Ericsson forecasts that 70 per cent of people globally will be using smartphones, and 90 per cent of the world will be covered by broadband networks, by 2020.

In the same year, it forecasts smartphone subscriptions will reach approximately 6.1 billion globally.

This will mean that approximately 80 per cent of all mobile data traffic will come from smartphones, with developed markets like North America and Europe generating the highest usage per device.

It said the smartphone will also become more affordable by 2020, with almost 80 per cent of subscriptions added by the end of 2020 coming from Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Rima Qureshi, SVP and chief strategy officer at Ericsson, said the growth of mobile technology “makes today’s big data revolution feel like the arrival of the floppy disk”.

She said: “We see potential for mass scale transformation, bringing a wealth of opportunities for telecoms operators and others to capture new revenue streams.”


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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