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Ericsson: IoT To Surpass Mobile Phones By 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) is surging ahead and set to overtake mobile phones as the largest category of connected device by 2018, the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report reveals.

The number of IoT connected devices is expected to grow 23 per cent annually between 2015 and 2021, with cellular IoT forecast to have the highest growth rate.

Ericsson expects that, of the 28 billion total devices connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.

Western Europe is set to lead the way, with IoT device growth of 400 per cent by 2021, principally driven by regulatory requirements, such as intelligent utility meters, along with growth in demand for connected cars, including the EU e-call directive to be implemented in 2018.

“IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge,” Rima Qureshi, Ericsson senior vice president and chief strategy officer, observed.

“From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”

Meanwhile, smartphone subscriptions are forecast to surpass those for basic phones in the third quarter of this year, and are forecast to almost double from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion by 2021, with the report also revealing there are now 5 billion mobile subscribers (unique users) in the world today.

The report additionally details a “dramatic shift in teen viewing habits”, with use of cellular data for smartphone video having grown 127 per cent in 15 months (2014-15), while over a period of four years (2011-15) there has been a 50 per cent drop in the time teens spend watching TV/video on a TV screen and an 85 per cent increase in those viewing TV/video on a smartphone.

Among the report’s other findings, global mobile data traffic grew 60 per cent between the 2015 first quarter and the 2016 first quarter, driven by rising smartphone subscriptions and data consumption per subscriber, with around 90 per cent of mobile data traffic to be from smartphones by the end of 2021.

There were 150 million new LTE subscriptions during the 2015 first quarter, reaching a total of 1.2 billion worldwide.

“In 2016, a long-anticipated milestone is being passed, with commercial LTE networks supporting downlink peak data speeds of 1 Gbps,” Ericsson states, noting that devices are expected in the second half of the year, initially in markets including Japan, the US, South Korea and China, “but rapidly spreading to other regions”.

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