Internet of Things (IoT) is set to overtake mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices by 2018 according to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.
The report forecasts that between 2015 and 2021, the number of IoT connected devices will grow 23 percent annually, with cellular IoT having the highest growth rate. Of the 28 billion total devices that will be connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.
According to Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson: “IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”
Western Europe will lead the way in adding IoT connections – with a nearly 400 percent growth by 2021 driven by regulatory requirements, for example for intelligent utility meters, and a growing demand for connected cars including the EU e-call directive to be implemented in 2018.
By 2021, smartphone subscriptions will almost double from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion and devices that support 1 Gbps are expected in the second half of 2016, initially in markets such as Japan, US, South Korea and China, but rapidly spreading to other regions. Other takeaways from the report indicate that mobile broadband subscriptions will grow fourfold in the Middle East and Africa between 2015 and 2021; mobile data traffic in India will grow fifteen times by 2021; and despite being the most mature market, US mobile traffic will grow 50 percent in 2016 alone.
The global mobile data traffic grew 60 percent between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, due to rising numbers of smartphone subscriptions and increasing data consumption per subscriber. By the end of 2021, around 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones.