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November 26, 2012

Smartphone Industry Shows Rapid Growth, Data Traffic Doubles

A new Mobility Report has been released by Ericsson, formerly known as the Ericsson Traffic and Market Report, and its findings should be interesting for those in the smartphone industry. According to the report, approximately 40 percent of all phones sold in the third quarter of 2012 were smartphones.

The rapid growth of the smartphone industry is likely not a surprise to most people, but the specifics are pretty staggering. For instance, mobile data traffic doubled from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012, and is even expected grow 12 times what it currently is now by 2018.

The report shows that the surge of mobile data traffic is mainly driven by video, a unique capability that smartphones have capitalized on, which has transformed the mobile phone industry in the last few years.

“Expectations of mobile-network quality have been elevated by the availability of smartphones and tablets that have changed the way we use the internet,” said Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy at Ericsson. “Mobility is becoming an increasingly significant part of our daily lives; we always have devices within arm’s reach, allowing us instant access to information, entertainment and social interaction.”

Specifically, the report shows online video as the biggest contributor to the high levels of mobile traffic, constituting 25 percent of total smartphone traffic, and 40 percent of total tablet traffic.

While the research does not include machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions, its data on global mobile market penetration is substantive. The report marks China as having 35 percent of net additions for the third quarter, accounting for 40 million additional subscriptions from the last quarter.

Other large net additions are shown in the report coming from Brazil with nine million, Indonesia with seven million, and the Philippines with five million.

In total, global market penetration reached 91 percent in 2012 for the third quarter, with mobile subscriptions now totaling around 6.4 billion.

This staggering growth rate is not expected to stop either--the Mobility Report predicts that the total number of mobile subscriptions will reach as high as 6.6 billion by the end of 2012, and near 9.3 billion in 2018.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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