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Ericsson Predicts 5 Billion World Mobile Broadband Subscribers in 2017

Wednesday, Jun 6th, 2012 (9:05 am) - Score 2,894

Global telecoms giant Ericsson has released its second Traffic and Market Report, which reveals that global Mobile Broadband subscriptions will grow from 1 Billion in 2011 to 5 Billion in 2017 when 85% of the world’s population will have internet coverage via 3G services and 50% via superfast “4G” (Long Term Evolution) technology.

At present around 75% of the worlds current generation Mobile Broadband networks, those which use HSPA based 3G technology, have been upgraded to deliver a peak speed of 7.2Mbps (Megabits per second) or above and around 40% can support up to 21Mbps (HSPA+). The majority of UK mobile operators have made or are currently making identical improvements.

Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President of Ericsson, said:

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.”

As you’d expect the impact upon total mobile data traffic continues to trend in a sharply upards direction. In fact mobile data traffic doubled between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012, with online video content being the primary driving force. Overall mobile data traffic will grow by 15 times between 2011 and 2017.

ericsson q1 2012 mobile data traffic

It’s perhaps understandable then that traditional fixed narrowband telephone lines (voice) are in a slow but steady decline as more and more consumers continue to embrace the mobile evolution.

ericsson q1 2012 fixed and mobile subscriptions

Sadly the UK is still trailing most of the developed world when it comes to superfast “4G” technology. Orange UK (Everything Everywhere) could launch a limited 4G service using the 1800MHz (urban focused) band by the end of this year, although Ofcom are under a lot of pressure from rival operators to delay that outcome as it would give EE a head start.

Meanwhile everybody else will have to wait until at least Q4-2013 before the first 4G services arrive, which is assuming that Ofcom’s auction of the related 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum isn’t delayed again by yet more legal squabbles between operators. O2 UK could in theory launch 4G over their existing 900MHz band but they don’t have quite enough of the radio spectrum to do it properly.

Ericsson’s Traffic and Market Report for June 2012 (PDF)

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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