Printable version

IoT Devices Expected to Outnumber Mobile Phones

Ericsson mobility report predicts IoT device dominance by 2018.

Ericsson have published their latest mobility report, in which they estimate that Internet of Things (IoT) devices will surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices by 2018.

The report makes a range of predictions for the global connected devices market between 2015 and 2021, and expects an annual growth rate of 23% for IoT devices. The number of global IoT devices is predicted to reach close to 16 billion by 2021.

Western Europe is expected to lead the charge, with demand for connected cars and vehicles expected to be the main driver of the increase in IoT devices. Most recently for the UK, the Queen’s speech identified connected and autonomous cars as a priority, and the government has an ongoing call for evidence on the testing environment for connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK.

The report notes that the European connected cars and vehicles market will be further boosted by EU legislation, such as the e-call directive. The e-call directive will be implemented in 2018, and seeks to create an EU-wide automated traffic accident report system via connected sensors in cars.

Elsewhere in the connected device market, mobile data use continues to grow at a steady rate, with the most significant growth in subscriptions coming from India, Asia Pacific, and Africa.

The report also found that:

  • 6.3 billion smartphone subscriptions will be in use by 2021.
  • By 2021, over 90% of the world´s population will be covered by mobile broadband networks.
  • Mobile data traffic showed 60% growth between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, and LTE subscriptions continued to rise, with 150 million new global subscriptions during Q1 2016.
  • Around 150 million 5G subscriptions and, but 5G networks will also be used by a wide range of IoT devices.
  • 90% of Mobile subscriptions in Western Europe are expected to be 5G or LTE by 2021.
  • The Middle East and Africa are expected to move from a mobile data market dominated by 2G, into a market in which 80% of subscriptions will be 3G or 4G by 2021.
  • Mobile data traffic will grow fifteen-fold in India by 2021.
  • Mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 55% annually as streaming-native teens push a sharp increase in the use of smartphones as a streaming device.

The report also discusses the need for global spectrum harmonisation in order to secure early 5G and IoT deployments. techUK continue to help to direct the discussion around the use of spectrum, via the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.

You can find documents from the last meeting of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum here. The next meeting is scheduled for September and will look at how 5G will emerge in the UK.

For more information, please contact Charles Wood.


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from