In Depth

What’s happening with mobile and data subscriptions across the globe?

Did you know that 120 million mobile subscribers were added globally in Q1 of 2014 and that the total number of subscribers now is 6.8 billion which equals to a 93% mobile penetration? Moreover, 65% of all the mobile phones sold during Q1 of 2014 were smartphones which is 15% higher than last year’s number during the same period.

Mobility report YS

Many more interesting points came out in the research conducted by Ericsson as a part of Mobility Report for 2014-Q1. Here is everything you want to know about developments taking place globally across mobile and data:

1) There are 1.9 billion smartphone subscriptions across the globe (till Dec 2013).

2) Global mobile broadband subscriptions stand at a staggering 2.3 billion (till Mar 2014).

3) As of March 2014, India has 790 million mobile subscribers, which is second only to China’s 1250 million.

growth mobile subscriptions

4) Of the 120 million new mobile connections added in 2014 Q1, more than 23% (28 million) were in India, followed by China (19 million).

cellular connections

5) Global mobile penetration is 93% while India at 63% lacks behind even Africa (73%).

6) By 2019 end, number of mobile subscriptions across the globe is expected to reach 9.2 billion with more than 80% of them being broadband connections.

7) Smartphone subscriptions are expected to grow to 5.6 billion by 2019 (from the present 1.9 billion) owing to the sharp rise in smartphone purchases in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

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growth mobile subscriptions


8) The number of mobile subscriptions for mobile PCs, tablets and mobile routers is expected to grow from 300 million in 2013 to around 700 million in 2019.

New mobile subscription

9) Mobile data traffic in Q1 2014 exceeded total mobile data traffic in 2011.
10) Mobile data traffic in Asia Pacific is expected to see a 12X increase between 2013 and 2019.
11) Video is the largest and the fastest growing segment of mobile data traffic.
12) Video consumption on mobile data connections is expected to grow 13 times by 2019 and constitute over 50% of data traffic then.
13) Social networking (browsing) composes 10% of global data traffic currently and will remain unchanged.
14) Audio traffic (music streaming) is expected to increase 8 fold by 2019.

mobile data video


15) Microwave technology constitutes 60% of the mobile backhaul market. This transmission medium will continue to connect 50% of mobile broadband while transmission through optical fibres will increase up to 40% in 2019.

The following table summarizes the overall key figures of growth in mobile and data connections across the globe:

Key figures

It is clear that we are living in the age of data, and mobile has made it available on the go. Though India has 790 million mobile subscriptions already but there’s scope for much more as we’re still far behind the global average mobile penetration.

Watch this space for more insights on the growth of technology and what we can expect in the future!


About the author

Alok Soni prefers to keep his bio short owing to a dearth of creativity. Feel free to reach out to him at alok[at]yourstory[dot]com or follow on twitter @aloksoni

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In Depth