Ericsson’s November Mobility Report continues to forecast IoT connections but sets it focus on 5G which will provide a wider range of use cases for IoT. It predicts by the end of 2022, there will be 550 million 5G subscriptions which will represent at least 10% of the world population. This will lead off from the growth in mobile, LTE and mobile broadband across the world, but especially in urban centres and emerging markets like India and China.
The Ericsson Mobility Report highlights the overall growth in mobile subscriptions by a growth rate of 3% year-on-year taking total global mobile subscriptions to 7.5 billion in Q3. China and India as well as APAC countries excluding China and India led this growth. The net subscribers added by the countries are: India 15 million, China 14 million, APAC 22 million. Mobile broadband grew at 25% year-on-year, increasing by approximately 190 million in Q3 2016 alone while 160 million new LTE subscriptions were added in the quarter. The Report also highlights 100% penetration rate of mobile subscriptions indicating that there are more subscriptions than people.
Mobile broadband is the main reason fuelling the growth of mobile subscriptions and this most noticeable in Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa. This is also determining the type of technology user are subscribing to. Asia Pacific sees a higher subscription for GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions with LTE and WCDMA/HSPA following closely. By 2022 LTE is expected to account for 50% of the mobile subscriptions. The same is the case across regions with the highest growth of LTE expected in North America and Western Europe where most of the development and deployment of the technology is currently happening.
Mobile data traffic has also grown strongly driven by the growth in smartphone use as well as a continued increase in average data volume per subscription fueled by more viewing of video content. The Mobility Report forecasts that in 2022, monthly mobile data traffic per active smartphone in North America will reach 25 GB. Total mobile data traffic is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 45% with smartphone traffic expected to increase by 10 times and total mobile traffic for all devices by 8 times.
In Asia Pacific mobile data traffic will be led by China. It is expected to add 440 million mobile broadband subscriptions between the end of 2016 and 2022 adding a multiplier effect to the growth of mobile data traffic for the region. Mobile data traffic is also fuelled by the immense in video content viewing across regions. The Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 50 percent annually through 2022 and will account for 75% of all mobile data traffic.
The Mobility Report also adds that during the first 3 quarters of 2016, the number of VoLTE subscriptions has grown strongly and is estimated to surpass 200 million by the end of the year. As a result a growth in VoLTE enabled smartphones is also expected.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to drive digital transformation for consumers as well network operators. As new growth opportunities are discovered and efficiencies in cost are achieved, mobile operators will leverage IoT to move up the value chain. Connected cars, smart technology to power smart cities, homes and connected devices are some of the major areas of growth powered by IoT. Ericsson forecasts that there will be 29 billion connected devices by 2022 of which 18 billion will be related to IoT.