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India sees highest growth in mobile phone subscriptions: report

Livemint:  November 18, 2015

New Delhi: India saw the highest number of net addition in mobile phone subscriptions globally in the third quarter of 2015, a new report by telecommunications firm Ericsson showed Tuesday.

There were more than 13 million net additions, followed by China, where subscriptions grew by 7 million, and the US with 6 million net additions.

By the end of the third quarter, total number of global mobile subscriptions reached 7.3 billion, including 87 million new ones. However, the number of actual subscribers is lower than the number of subscriptions owing to the fact that users use multiple devices, such as smartphones and tablets, at the same time. At present, there are 4.9 billion subscribers worldwide versus 7.3 billion subscriptions.

Global mobile subscriptions are growing by 5% year-on-year, stated the report. Smartphones accounted for close to 75% of all mobile phones sold during the quarter, compared to about 70% last year.

While developing economies like India are struggling to roll out consistent 3G networks, the developed world is already looking at rapid expansion of fifth-generation, or 5G networks. 5G mobile subscriptions are likely to reach 150 million by 2021, the report said.

With more devices coming on to the Internet and mobiles becoming central to controlling those devices, mobile data traffic is set to see a spike over the next few years.

Mobile data traffic for the September quarter was 65% higher than a year ago, largely driven by increased video consumption on mobile devices. The report predicts video will account for 70% of all mobile data traffic by 2021.

The 5G network is expected to give rise to expansive ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure, which in turn will act as a catalyst in reducing carbon footprint.

“ICT will enable savings in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across all other industrial sectors,” the report said. “The total emission reduction could be up to 10 gigatonnes of CO2e, representing about 15% of global GHG emissions in 2030—more than the current carbon footprint of the US and EU combined.”

South Korea, Japan, China and the US are predicted to lead with the first, and fastest, 5G subscription uptake, the report added. “5G is about more than faster mobile services—it will enable new use cases related to the Internet of Things,” said Rima Qureshi, senior vice-president and chief strategy officer, Ericsson. “ICT transformation will become even more common across industries as 5G moves from vision to reality in the coming years.”

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.