In the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, the firm says that between 2013 and 2019, worldwide smartphone subscriptions will reach 5.6 billion, and smartphone traffic will increase by ten times in the next five years.
The report says mobile subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion by 2019, 5.6 billion (over 60 percent) of which will be for smartphones, rather than feature phones or tablets. In order to support the expected surge in consumer demand, Ericsson says that WCDMA/HSPA networks are predicted to cover 90 percent of the world's population by 2019, and almost two-thirds of the world's population will be covered by 4G/LTE networks.
In addition, smartphone traffic is predicted to increase by 10 times in the next five years, eventually reaching 10 exabytes. At current rates of growth, video streaming demand is climbing by 55 percent a year -- and will eventually represent more than 50 percent of total worldwide mobile data traffic. Social networking and web services will account for roughly 10 percent each by 2019.
Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy at Ericsson, said:
"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.
Interestingly, this trend will be driven by uptake in China and other emerging markets as lower-priced smartphone models become available."