By 2022, it is predicted that the average amount of data being used by a smartphone in the US will be in the region of 26GB per month, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. To put this into perspective, the same report details that the current rate of data consumption on average, is 5GB per month, per smartphone. Suggesting that in the next five years, the amount of data being used will increase more than five-fold. By the end of this year alone, the report predicts that average active smartphone data consumption will reach 6.9GB per month in the US. Which the report notes makes the US the most prevalent region for data usage, drawing on Western Europe as "the region with the second highest usage." By comparison, the predicted level of data usage per smartphone, per month, by the end of 2017, in Western Europe, is only 3.9GB.
The report also looks to detail how that data will be used. Explaining that video will continue to prove to be the biggest growth category for data usage, growing by 50-percent by 2022. A growth level which will see video consumption accounting for nearly 75-percent of all data usage in 2022. Social Media is also expected to see growth of about 38-percent, although its percentage share of overall data consumption will drop due to the increase in data consumption by video. While more mundane internet use cases, like file sharing and web browsing, are expected to grow by only 19-percent and 22-percent respectively by 2022. Growth levels which although are positive, will represent a much smaller percentage of the overall levels of data usage by 2022.
In addition to the increase in actual data usage, the same report also details that the number of mobile subscriptions will also be on the up over the next five years in the US. With the data suggesting that by 2022 there will be 430 million mobile subscriptions, up from the 380 million noted for 2016. Likewise, the number of smartphone-specific subscriptions will be up to 370 million by 2022 – up from 310 million in 2016. An increase that will also see the number of LTE subscriptions rise up from 270 million (in 2016) to 310 million (in 2022). The US aside, the report also looks to offer some insight into how the numbers are going to increase on a global scale. With the report suggesting that by 2022 there will be 6.8 billion smartphone subscriptions. Essentially, almost double the 3.9 billion smartphone subscriptions noted for 2016. This will in turn account for 5 billion LTE subscriptions by 2022, up from 1.9 billion in 2016. Sticking with the global figures, and the report highlights that 107 million new mobile subscriptions were added in Q1 of 2017, alone. Bringing the current total to 7.6 billion and on track for the 9 billion mobile subscriptions predicted by 2022. With LTE subscriptions reaching 2.1 million during Q1, 2017, up from the 1.9 billion noted for 2016, and on track to that 5 billion figure suggested for 2022.
Of course, 5G is going to play an important role in the future of data usage, and the report does take this into account. Noting that by 2022, it is predicted that "15-percent of the world's population will be covered by 5G." Although most of this coverage will naturally be made up of more densely populated and urban areas. Replicating the adoption and roll out process seen previously with LTE. In terms of subscriptions, it is being predicted that by 2022, 5G subscriptions will have already surpassed 500 million. A number which is even more impressive when taking into consideration that the report does not expect operators to start any meaningful deployment of 5G before 2020.