In its latest Mobility Report, Ericsson has continued to describe the evolution towards the Networked Society. According to the report, Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018, and between 2015 and 2021, IoT is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23%, making up close to 16 billion of the total forecast 28 billion connected devices by 2021. The Ericsson Mobility Report also foresees 1.5 billion IoT devices with cellular subscriptions by 2021. Further, within IoT, two major market segments with different requirements are emerging: massive and critical applications.
Ericsson reports that its LTE subscriptions grew at a high rate during Q1 2016. The report shows 150 million new subscriptions during the quarter, reaching a total of 1.2 billion worldwide. Also, subscriptions associated with smartphones continue to increase and are expected to exceed those for basic phones in Q3 this year.
Further, the report shows that the total number of mobile subscriptions in Q1 2016 was around 7.4 billion, including 63 million new subscriptions. In other words, mobile subscriptions are growing around 3% year-on-year globally. The report also shows that the 5G subscription uptake is expected to be faster than for 4G, and it foresees 150 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2021. Moreover, the number of devices with mobile capabilities and a subscription will increase by 20% by 2021.
When it comes to regional subscriptions, according to the report, mobile subscriptions in Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific are mainly GSM/EDGE-only, while in Western Europe and North America, the majority are WCDMA/HSPA and LTE. As regards Voice over LTE outlook, Ericsson says the uptake is expected to accelerate in the coming years, with 2.3 billion subscriptions projected by 2021.
Mobile data traffic also grew around 10% quarter-on-quarter and 60% year-on-year, however, it should be noted that there are large differences in traffic levels between markets, regions and operators. Further, total mobile data traffic is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 45%. Also, as per the report, mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 55% annually through 2021.
When it comes to the state of networks, the report shows 494 commercial LTE networks in 157 countries, 422 LTE deployments of FDD only mode, 2 commercial LTE broadcast networks, and 21 deployments of combined FDD/TDD mode.
The report also includes four feature articles exploring various aspects of the mobile industry. The first looks at how microwave backhaul links can be used as accurate, high resolution rainfall measurement tools. The second examines how teens drive the changing TV/video viewing behavior, which is moving from traditional TVs to streaming video on smartphones. The third is based on managing user experience and describes how high traffic load in less than a tenth of the mobile radio cells in metropolitan areas can affect over half of the user activity over the course of 24 hours. The fourth and final article covers the need for global spectrum harmonization to secure early 5G deployments.