Ericsson recently released its latest mobility report, and its outlook for global mobile growth is astounding. According to the report, there were 113 million new mobile subscriptions globally in Q3 2013, bringing the total number to 6.6 billion. Of the 113 million new global mobile subscriptions, 103 million came from emerging markets, with 30 million and 10 million coming from China and India respectively.
Alongside this growth in mobile phone subscriptions has come a sizable growth in mobile broadband access. According to the report, there were 150 million new mobile broadband subscriptions year-on-year. Total global mobile broadband subscriptions will exceed 2 billion by the end of the year and will increase by 4x to reach 8 billion by 2019. The majority of new mobile broadband users will come from smartphone subscriptions, which are expected to increase from 1.9 billion this year to 5.6 billion by the end of 2019. Asia Pacific will continue to be the driving force behind new mobile broadband subscriptions. By 2019, 85% of mobile subscriptions in the region will be 3G/4G, up from less than 25% this year.
With increased smartphone and mobile broadband subscriptions comes increased usage of mobile data. Mobile data traffic from smartphones, currently at one ExaByte (EB: one billion gigabytes) per month worldwide, will increase by 10x by 2019 to 10 EBs per month. Smartphone users in Asia Pacific will account for roughly half of this traffic. Where is all this traffic going? According to the report, by 2019, digital video will account over 50% of mobile data traffic. Social media and web browsing will also account for a sizable portion of total mobile data usage.
As the prices of smartphones and the cost of mobile data continue to fall, emerging market consumers will gain access to the web at an astounding rate. As Ericsson’s mobility report suggests, the next 6 years will see a rapid rapid rise in both mobile and mobile broadband subscriptions, bringing web access to billions of consumers worldwide. These changes will have significant effects across a broad spectrum of industries: from social media and advertising to banking and ecommerce. Keep your eyes fixed on emerging markets.