The Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson, has just released the results to a study it’s been conducting focusing on smartphone users. Currently, the number of smartphone users worldwide is somewhere in the region of 700 million. However, the projections are that in the next five years that figure could quadruple to more than 3 billion.

Ericsson: The number of smartphone users to increase to 3 billion by 2017

Although it’s worth being more than a little cautionary when dealing with long-term forecasts, especially within the mobile sector, these projected facts and figures are not to be ignored. According to this study, the amount of traffic caused by mobile devices data volume has doubled within one year. Ericsson believes that this volume of data will increase a further twelve fold in the next six years.

Smartphones already play a key role in the increase of data traffic and with 40 percent of all mobile sales in the third quarter of 2012 being smartphones, that’s a trend that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. With those sorts of figures it’s not hard to see where the projections from Ericsson are coming from.

Ericsson has also suggested that by the end of this year, there will be approximately 6.6 billion active mobile phone contracts. In a world of 7 billion people that figure is disproportionately high as Ericsson has taken into their calculations a percentage of people that have more than one contract, perhaps 1 for a mobile and another for a tablet.

To cope with the influx in global data Ericsson expects a large increase in LTE networks that can handle the increased volume in traffic and offer download speeds in the 100Mbps range.  There is also a more advanced LTE system (LTE-Advanced) that can offer even superior download speeds on supported devices.

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