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LTE, Smartphone Uptake Drives Video Traffic Growth

STOCKHOLM—The new edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows that mobile-data traffic will continue to grow in the coming years, a trend driven mainly by video. Overall data traffic is expected to grow 12-fold by the end of 2018. Increasing usage is driven by growth in content available, as well as the improved network speeds that come with HSPA and LTE development.

“LTE services will be available to about 60 percent of the world’s population in 2018,” said Ericsson’s Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy Douglas Gilstrap. “We expect LTE subscriptions to exceed 1 billion in 2017, driven by more capable devices and demand for data-intensive services such as video. Owing to the build out of WCDMA/HSPA, network speeds have improved, and so has the user experience.”

Video makes up the largest segment of data traffic in networks, and it is expected to grow around 60 percent annually up until the end of 2018. Video consumption is on average 2.6GB per subscription per month in some networks.

While video is popular, consumers spend more time on social networking— an average of up to 85 minutes per day in some networks.

Smartphones accounted for around half of all mobile-phone sales in Q1 2013, compared with roughly 40 percent for the whole of 2012. Total mobile subscriptions grew by 8 percent globally year-on-year by Q1 2013. Of those, WCDMA/HSPA added around 60 million subscriptions, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions grew by roughly 30 million, and LTE added around 20 million new subscriptions. Mobile-broadband subscriptions grew at a rate of 45 percent year-on-year, reaching around 1.7 billion.

The report also addresses the concept of “app coverage” —broadening the definition of coverage from voice to include how well users are able to access their mobile apps— and presents a new framework explaining the effects of varying network performance.

The relationship between network performance and consumer loyalty was also studied. Network performance is the principal driver of subscriber loyalty to mobile operators, followed by value for money. Other sections of the report explain the effects of smartphone signaling on data traffic, and look at data roaming.