Total number of mobile subscriptions worldwide grew approximately by eight per cent year-on-year exceeding 6.4 billion for the first quarter of 2013, Ericsson?s Mobility Report released this week has revealed.
The report, which aims to share analysis based on traffic measurements, internal forecasts and other relevant studies, has projected that by the end of 2018, mobile subscriptions will reach 9.1 billion.
?The total number of mobile subscriptions globally will exceed the world population in 2014. We will have more mobile subscriptions in the world than there are people in the world?, Ericsson Head of Region, Sub Saharan Africa, Fredrik Jejling, said during the launch of the report in Accra on Wednesday.
Of the 130 million mobile net additions the world saw in the first quarter of the year, Africa contributed 27 million.
The report says mobile broadband subscriptions globally also grew drastically at a rate of 45 per cent year-on-year reaching around 1.7 billion for the same period and are predicted to reach 7.0 billion in 2018.
It says majority of mobile broadband handsets will continue to be smart phones and adds that about 50% of all mobile phones sold in the first quarter of 2013 were smart phones and by the end of 2018, users of smart phones would reach 4.5 billion.
Come 2018 almost all handsets in Western, Europe and North America will be smart phones compared to 40 per cent to 50 per cent of handsets subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific regions, the report projects.
?We (Ericsson) believe Africa is a potential market for growth. We have been in Africa for 137 years and we believe that this industry has a profound impact on society,? Mr jejling said.
He added: ?If we increase mobile broadband penetration by 10% you are likely to see 1.3% growth in GDP. So it is very much growth facilitated, and if you add another 1000 mobile broadband subscribers, we are likely to get another 80 new jobs created,? he said.
The report says these factors combined have resulted in a continued steady growth in mobile data usage per subscription. For instance the report indicates the total number of mobile data doubled between the first quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013.