Ericsson predicts 5 billion mobile data users by 2016

Ericsson predicts 5 billion mobile data users by 2016
We all know that mobile is big business and that usage is exploding all around the globe, but Ericsson decided to put some numbers on just how crazy it's all going to get. The company has a number of predictions based on its Traffic and Market Data report, which point to mobile data usage increasing quite a lot in just the next 5 years. 

Ericsson is annoyingly vague about how it came up with the data, citing nebulous "measurements" which were "recorded over several years". That doesn't help us in believing the predictions, but the numbers themselves are pretty intriguing. Ericsson is predicting that mobile data subscriptions will jump from approximately 900 million today to almost 5 billion subscriptions in 2016, and that is a count of subscriptions, not subscribers, which would be crazy given that there will be only about 7.5 billion people on the planet in 2016. 

Not so surprising, Ericsson is also predicting that mobile data traffic will increase 10-fold by 2016 mostly due to more and more streaming video. Although, given that Ericsson is predicting that mobile data subscribers will be increasing about 5-fold, a 10-fold increase in traffic isn't too bad. Another prediction which states that mobile users living on 1% of the land on Earth will be driving 60% of the traffic. This is because Ericsson predicts that by 2016, 30% of the world's population will live in urban areas. So, it seems fairly reasonable that those living in cities will have the fastest connections and be able to push the most data. 

Although we'd like more transparency about how this data was generated, we certainly wouldn't be surprised if it all comes true. And, we expect the PhoneArena community to be generating its fair share of mobile data usage to make it happen.

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9 Comments

1. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

absolutely impossible. 5 out of 7 billion . that number can be achived if 1 yar kids also subscribe.

3. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Sorry, edited that. Should have read "almost 5 billion subscriptions" not subscribers. There are plenty of people with multiple subscriptions.

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

and dont forget that Android is penetrating the 3rd world segments pretty hard with WP7 concentrating on them with their next update. It wont be too much longer until some basic smartphones are about the same price as dumbphones for full retail. The Comet is only $120 as it stands now

2. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

Can 5 Billion people afford data usage on phones?

4. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

It doesn't necessarily mean heavy data usage on smartphones. It could just be basic Internet on feature phones.

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

or it could be people hooking up to WiFi

5. sharetipsinfo

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 08, 2011

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6. denney

Posts: 98; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

The thing to understand is that data is just another fading commodity. Essentially, at one point or another, smartphones, tablets, and subscription based gaming devices will be the 90s NBA jerseys you see on underclass african children today. Just because they are subscribers, doesn't mean they have the best of anything, it just means they have in 2016 what we had in 2006.

9. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

I just think the kids in Africa would rather have food then look up sport scores on their feature phones.

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