The number of 5G mobile subscriptions will surpass one billion by 2023, Ericsson projected as part of its latest Mobility Report for November. In regards to all mobile subscriptions, the Stockholm, Sweden-based company estimates that there are currently just under 7.8 billion of them, with that number being expected to surpass 9.1 billion six years from now. Additionally, the firm said there are currently over five billion mobile subscriptions around the world, with China now being the fastest-growing country in this regard, having recorded 30 million net additions over the third quarter of the year. Indonesia placed second, accounting for approximately four million net adds in Q3 2017, with the United States and Angola having four million new mobile subscribers each.
By 2023, Ericsson estimates there will be around 20 billion active Internet of Things devices on the planet, with their number being expected to grow by a significant margin in the next decade. Perhaps more importantly, nearly ten percent of those connected devices are expected to be communicating with the World Wide Web via a mobile connection. The notable increase in the number of IoT devices with cellular capabilities that Ericsson is projecting is primarily attributed to the fifth generation of mobile networks and countless new use cases such technologies will be able to provide. Today, the vast majority of IoT offerings use traditional broadband connections and cannot communicate with mobile networks.
Ericsson also expects 4G LTE to become the dominant wireless technology by the end of the current calendar year and placed a lot of faith in video content as the most rapidly growing web category viewed by mobile users. According to the company's latest estimates, mobile video traffic will have an annual growth rate of around 50 percentage points until 2023. Over the same six-year period, social networking is projected to grow 34 percent year-on-year, though as video is expected to outpace it, its overall share of online traffic should drop to around 8 percent by 2023 whereas it currently amounts to 12 percentage points. Regardless, social Internet services are hardly expected to decline and a significant portion of video content viewed by users in the coming years will likely originate from them, whereas the very definition of a social network is also becoming more blurred as even video platforms like YouTube have pronounced social features.