Global smartphone subscriptions to reach 5.6 billion by 2019

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Mobile devices subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion by 2019, 5.6 billion of which will be for smartphones, according to new research.
 
The latest Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that smartphone subscriptions will triple and smartphone traffic will increase 10 times between 2013 and 2019, reaching 10 Exabytes. 
 
90 percent of the world's population will be covered by WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) ¬ in 2019 and almost two-thirds (65 percent) will be covered by 4G-LTE.
 
Last month, a similar report by research firm Infonetics found that WCDMA continued to be the biggest driver of the mobile broadband market in the second quarter of the year.
 
According to Ericsson, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions grew at 40 percent, exceeding 2 billion in 2013 and around 55 percent of all mobile phones sold in Q3 2013 were smartphones.
 
The report also found that Central and Eastern Europe markets showed a strong increase in HSPA subscriptions. 4G-LTE will initially grow in the most developed parts of the region, and will be present in almost all European countries by 2015.
 
Asia Pacific represents approximately 50 percent of mobile subscriptions globally.
 
The largest and fastest growing mobile data traffic segment is video. According to the report, video is expected to increase by around 55 percent annually up until the end of 2019, by which point it will take up over 50 percent of global mobile traffic.
 
App coverage – Ericsson’s approach to network performance that looks at the probability that the network will deliver sufficient performance to run a particular application at an acceptable level of quality, is also mentioned in the report. 
 
Ericsson has been plugging app coverage this year and has conducted experiments on various types of apps including music streaming, video streaming and video telephony, measuring performance over a 4 square kilometre area dominated by high-rise buildings. 
 
Tests were conducted using these apps on three different types of radio network designs, namely the base case (11 three-sector macro sites), tuning and optimisation (the same site but using tuning and optimisation), and macro densification (the same site but with 10 macro sites added to the same geographical area). 
 
Macro densification was found to increase total coverage for video streaming to 73 percent from the base case network performance of only 48 percent, while tuning and optimisation improved video streaming to 68 percent. 
 
In order to compare network performance in cities globally, the vendor analysed network speed measurements from Speedtest.net conducted in 17 cities around the world, which showed that only Copenhagen and Oslo had a 90 percent probability of getting a one Mbps downlink throughput or higher. 
 
The report also shows that adequate coverage to stream music is lacking in a number of the researched cities, and even fewer have sufficient app coverage (90 percent probability) for video telephony services.
 
"The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue. It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the 2 billion mark. Between now and 2019, smartphone subscriptions will triple,” says Doughlas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy at Ericsson.
 
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