India, Myanmar lead the way as mobile bandwidth consumption mushrooms

Number of mobile subs hits 7.2 billion (well, 4.9 billion really)

Mobile data usage is exploding. In an update to its Mobility Report, Ericsson said mobile broadband subscriptions had passed three billion in Q2 2015, and the year-on-year traffic growth for the same period is 55 per cent.

The startling figures bring the number of mobile subscriptions to 7.2 billion, but the report points out that this equates to 4.9 billion subscribers, since many have multiple subscriptions.

There is still good growth, with the number of subscriptions increasing by five per cent, with India being the strongest market in terms of net additions for the quarter (+12 million), followed by Myanmar (+5 million), Nigeria (+4 million), USA (+4 million) and Bangladesh (+3 million).

Erm, China doesn’t figure in the the figures, because the Chinese operators cleaned up their numbers for inactive and multiple SIM cards.

In the UK, it is generally held that a subscriber is inactive if there have been no revenue-generating calls (which could include an incoming call going to voicemail) in the past three months. There is no global definition.

The number of mobile broadband subscriptions grew by around 140 million in Q2 2015 to reach around 3.1 billion.

This reflects a year-on-year increase of around 25 per cent, and of these, around 50 million were 3G, while 4G/LTE subscriptions increased by approximately 115 million to around 740 million. GSM-only (2G) subscriptions declined by 80 million.

Ericsson, which no longer makes handsets, says around 340 million smartphones were sold in Q2 2015.

This device represented more than 75 per cent of all mobile phones sold in Q2 2015, compared with around 65 per cent in Q2 2014. Of all mobile phone subscriptions, around 45 per cent are associated with smartphones, leaving considerable room for further uptake.

The rapid growth in mobile data is driven by the use of video and is putting pressure on operators to buy more spectrum.

Ericsson says that the total global uplink and downlink mobile traffic is over 4,000 petabytes per month. Voice accounts for fewer than 200 petabytes of the total. ®

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