Five Billionth Mobile Connection Chalked Up

This week marked yet another milestone in the internet becoming mobile, when the five billionth mobile subscription added to the count, largely thanks to emerging markets like India and China.

According to Ericsson estimates, based on industry information, the five billionth subscription was added on 8 July.

In the year 2000, about 720 million people had mobile subscriptions, less than the amount of users China, alone, has today.

Mobile broadband subscriptions are growing at similar pace and are expected to amount to more than 3.4 billion by 2015 (from 360 million in 2009). Studies show that soon 80% of all people accessing the internet will be doing so using their mobile device.

For some it’s a question of convenience, for others a necessity. Mobile subscriptions allow people who don’t have access to a bank or a bank account to transfer money; fishermen and farmers can get quick updates on sudden changes in the weather forecast, villagers to get local medical care, and children to access online education. It facilitates daily operations of small businesses and drives economic growth.

In more mature markets, connected devices rather than people, are driving the increase in network traffic. According to Ericsson’s vision we will reach 50 billion connections within this decade.

The communication landscape is changing rapidly and, in December of last year, another milestone was reached, when the amount of data traffic carried over mobile networks exceeded the amount of traffic generated from voice calls.

Machine-to-machine communications, or M2M, will be a key component in the future growth of the mobile industry. For energy companies it could be smart meters that read themselves, increase business efficiency and cut operational expenses. In transportation – tracking solutions improve route optimisation and safety for vehicles on the road. Digital signs that can be updated remotely, cameras that can send pictures halfway around the world and even a soda machine that requests restocking when needed are other examples that machine-to-machine technology make possible.

“The degree of connectivity in the world has grown by a factor of 10 over the last decade and we forecast it will increase a further tenfold over the next decade. In 2000, there were 0.5 billion connections in the world, primarily wireline, connecting places to places. Now there are over 5 billion connections, primarily wireless, connecting people to people. In 2020, we expect there will be 50 billion, connecting things to things. Anything that can benefit from having a connection will have one,” said Warren Chaisatien, Strategic Marketing Manager, Ericsson Australia/NZ.

“Australian mobile broadband growth continues unabated, with user numbers expected to reach 3.2 million in mid-2010. At 15% of the population, Australia remains a mobile broadband world leader, currently ranked third, globally, behind Austria and Sweden.

“The Australian mobile broadband market is now entering its second wave, where one size no longer fits all, mobile broadband is complementing fixed broadband rather than cannibalising it, and prepaid and smartphones are fast emerging to join dongles. Service innovation, product differentiation and user experience – rather than pricing – will be the key factors going forward.”

Source: Voice & Data