Global 4G/LTE divide will be wide in 2019: Ericsson Mobility Report

  • M2M will take off with active cellular M2M devices to grow 3-4 times by 2019
  • 65% of all phones sold in Q1 2014 were smartphones

Global 4G/LTE divide will be wide in 2019: Ericsson Mobility ReportTHE number of active cellular Machine-to-Machine (M2M) devices will increase three to four times by 2019, from 200 million at the end of 2013, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.
While the majority of cellular M2M devices today are still GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) only, that is expected to shift by 2016 when 3G/4G will represent the majority of active cellular M2M subscriptions.
Rima Qureshi (pic), Ericsson’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer said the company sees cellular M2M taking off.
“Over time, cellular M2M services and applications related to, for example, intelligent transport systems, will require very short latency in order to be efficient.
“By 2019 we estimate that more than 20% of the active cellular M2M devices will be connected to LTE (long term evolution) subscriptions. We also see new device-to-device and M2M applications as a key focus of 5G networks,” she added.
2015: subscriptions surpass global population
Next year, the total number of mobile subscriptions will exceed the world’s population. Mobile subscriptions have grown by 7% year-over-year, with 120 million net additions in Q1 alone.
Mobile broadband subscriptions also continue to grow and will reach 7.6 billion by the end of 2019, representing more than 80% of total mobile subscriptions.
2016: smartphones outnumber basic mobiles
In two years’ time, in 2016, the number of smartphone subscriptions will exceed those for basic phones and by 2019 the number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to reach 5.6 billion.
In Europe, the number of smartphone subscriptions will reach about 765 million in 2019 and thereby exceed the population number.
In Q1 2014, 65% of all phones sold were smartphones. Compared to today, a smartphone user in 2019 is expected to consume almost four times the amount of mobile data per month. This contributes to the 10-fold growth prediction in mobile data traffic between 2013 and 2019.
“The growth and the evolution in M2M and the 10-fold growth in mobile data traffic strengthen the emphasis on network performance, handling complexity and maximizing the user experience.
“This in turn puts even higher requirements across the networks and the operations and business support systems of the future,” Qureshi said.
2019: 4G/LTE subscription divide will be wide
In 2019, LTE population coverage in Europe will be around 80%, but Europe will only see LTE subscription penetration of 30% compared to 85% in North America the same year.
Even within Europe there will be large differences between Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe. Population coverage for LTE in North East Asia is expected to be 95% by 2019, with LTE penetration levels at 45%.
By the same year, China is expected to reach over 700 million LTE subscriptions, representing more than 25% of total global subscriptions for LTE.
This edition of Ericsson Mobility Report also includes further analysis of how one solution to cater for the rising traffic levels and app requirements is to evolve mobile broadband networks into heterogeneous networks that leverage an evolved macro cell layer complemented with integrated small cells.
The full report findings can be accessed here.

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