" ITREALMS: 'Mobile subscription exceeds 5m'

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

'Mobile subscription exceeds 5m'

Based on the estimation of Ericsson study group, the global mobile subscription has exceeded the 5 billion mark, 18 months after the 4 billion mark was reached at the end of 2008.

With bulk of this growth spurred by four key emerging markets, namely China, India, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, experts at Ericsson said that the main drivers of growth have continued to be Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions.

These regions, Ericsson noted together accounted for 80 per cent of global subscription net additions in the first half of 2010.

“Today, there are 450 million mobile subscriptions in Africa as compared to the year 2000, when there were about 16 million subscriptions, less than the amount of users in Ghana today,” part of a press statement made available by Ericsson Corporate Public & Media Relations department.

They said, 2 million additions are made per day globally, more than 500 million Third Generation (3G) subscriptions and 50 billion connected devices will be attained by 2020.

According to them, mobile broadband subscriptions are growing at a similar pace and are expected to amount to more than 3.4 billion by 2015, that is, up from 360 million in 2009. “Over 100 million of these will come from sub-Saharan Africa.

Studies show that soon 80 percent of all people accessing the internet will be doing so using their mobile device, this is already the case in Africa,” Ericsson said.

For some, officials said that it’s a question of convenience, while for others it is a necessity, pointing out that mobile subscriptions allow people who do not 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 can get local medical care, and children can access online education.

Thus, it facilitates daily operations of small businesses and drives economic growth, emphasizing that through its joint ventures, Sony Ericsson and ST Ericsson, they enabled access to new services and enriching individual’s Internet, multimedia and user experience through innovations in device design, multimedia platforms, smart mobility and entertainment.

In more mature markets, Ericsson officials noted that connected devices rather than people, are driving the increase in network traffic, underscoring the fact that Ericsson’s vision is to reach 50 billion connections by the end of this decade.

The communication landscape, they said, is changing rapidly and in December 2009, another milestone was reached when the amount of data traffic carried over mobile networks exceeded the amount of traffic generated from voice calls.

As such, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications would be a key component in the future growth of the mobile industry, even as medical applications include remote medical diagnostics, which would facilitate the collection, monitoring, and analysis of patient data from rural and/or isolated locations.

For energy companies, they said, it could be smart meters that read themselves, increase business efficiency and cut operational expenses.

In transportation, Ericsson’s experts said that tracking solutions would improve route optimization and safety for vehicles on the road and even digital signs that could be updated remotely, cameras that could send pictures halfway around the world are other examples that machine-to-machine technology make possible.

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