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Four charts that show the unstoppable rise of the smartphone

Ericsson's latest Mobility Report shows no sign that the world's appetite for mobile communications is slowing, with smartphone subscriptions and data usage expected to rocket.

Some 70 percent of the world's population will be using smartphones by 2020 - which means in five years time 6.1 billion units will be sold around the world.

The biggest growth areas for new subscriptions will be Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, which between them will account for 80 percent of new subscriptions, according to the latest Mobility Report from Ericsson.

Other nuggets from the research include the fact that by 2020, 80 percent of all mobile traffic will come from smartphones, and North America and Europe will continue to have the highest data usage per smartphone.

Along with the continued increase in smartphone usage will come an accelerated growth in data usage, which will increase tenfold by 2020, according to Ericsson.

Average monthly data usage per smartphone in North America will increase from 2.4 GB today to 14 GB in five years' time.

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The 108 million new subscriptions by 2020 will be dominated by India and Asia Pacific (not including China) and Africa.

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While the big growth area is the Asia Pacific region, the older economies need not despair as healthy growth is predicted still for North America and Western Europe.

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AsiaPac is predicted to almost double subscriptions in the five years to 2020. For the same time period, Latin America and Central, Eastern, and Western Europe are predicting slower growth.

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Users who crave video will go for high-end phones or tablets with large screens, but overall, the mid-size tablets will dominate in the near future, the mobile company reckons.

Ericsson's chief strategy officer, Rima Qureshi, said the impact of big data on mobile telecoms will "makes today's big data revolution feel like the arrival of a floppy disk".

According to Qureshi, this "mass-scale transformation" will bring "a wealth of opportunities for telecom operators and others to capture new revenue streams".

You can find the full Ericsson Mobility Report for the first quarter of 2015 here.

Further Reading:

Two reasons your BlackBerry is about to get better in and out of the office

One thing all travelers should do for good connectivity in the hotel

iPhone in the enterprise: Apple's ecosystem is the secret to its success