It is no secret and not exactly breaking news that the number of mobile subscriptions are consistently increasing. It is also not a massively surprising prediction to hear that this trend of increased mobile subscriptions are likely to continue increasing in the future. However, what might be surprising is how much they are expected to increase by. Ericsson, today released their latest Mobility Report and in the report made some very interesting predictions. The first and headline one is that mobile subscriptions are set to double in the next five years alone. In fact, the Swedish company is predicting that by the end of 2020, the number of mobile subscriptions will surpass 6.1 billion. To put this into perspective and explain the ‘doubling’, by the close of 2014, the number of mobile subscriptions was said to be around the 2.6 billion number. As such, by the end of 2020, if the predictions are correct, then there this number will certainly have more than doubled and then some. Ericsson does further go on to explain that close to 80% of what is defined as the “new subscriptions” is expected to come from emerging markets including Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
To show how difficult it is to make these sorts of predictions, in the same report, Ericsson made another claim which seems to contradict previous claims made by the company, Since 2009, Ericsson has been predicted that the number of connected devices or the “Networked Society” will reach somewhere in the region of 50 billion devices by the same 2020 marker. Well, in the latest report, Ericsson have adjusted their prediction and now believe that the number of connected devices will be significantly lower than had first been thought. In fact, almost half as low as Ericsson are now predicting that by 2020, there is likely to only be 26 billion connected devices in operation.
In spite of the seemingly contradictory ‘number of connected devices’ emerging today, Ericsson did point out that this does highlight that the road to 50 billion devices is still in sight “New use cases are emerging for both short and long range applications, which would lead to even stronger growth of connected devices, confirming we are well on the way to achieving the vision of 50 billion connected devices.,” Part of the reason giving for the discrepancy is that in 2009, the level of smartphone usage and LTE was not to where it is now which has affected the overall likelihood of the number of connected devices. Further adding, that with such forecasts and these newer areas, changes will happen. Either way though, the overriding theme noted from both the number of connected devices and the number of mobile subscriptions highlights the future likelihood of the connected markets in general, is growing significantly.