If there was ever any sign that mobile devices are taking over the consumer world, this would be it.

In the first quarter of 2013, global mobile penetration stood at 90 per cent, with about 6.4 billion mobile subscriptions in the world. That’s according to the Ericsson mobility report.

While the report noted there are really only about 4.5 billion subscribers, because many people have more than one mobile subscription, there still seems to be a strong case for the rise of mobile. About 50 per cent of all mobile phones sold in Q1 of 2013 were smartphones.

Between Q1 of 2012 and Q2 of 2013, data traffic volumes doubled, with analysts predicting traffic will increase 12-fold in five years. A solid 60 per cent of the world should be covered by LTE in 2018.

The report went on to say the total number of global smartphone subscriptions are at 1.2 billion, forecasted to hit 4.5 billion by 2018 as well.

SMBs looking to get into the mobile space might want to note that video and social media are the biggest drivers of mobile growth.

In five years, video traffic on mobile networks is expected to grow by 60 per cent each year, especially as mobile broadband speeds only become faster and faster, said the Ericsson report.

Bigger screens, high-definition displays and access to networks like Netflix, HBO and Vimeo are only going to boost video-watching on mobile screens, the Ericsson report said. Music streaming is also expected to grow around 50 per cent every year, although how popular audio streaming becomes really depends on the music streaming services that crop up in the next few years, the report added.

Plus, smartphone users are the most likely to spend their time on social media – in some networks, users spend an average of 85 minutes a day checking out their Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts.

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