9.5 Billion Mobile Subscriptions by 2020 – MENA’s Key Role

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The global market of mobile subscriptions will witness various changes by 2020. According to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report, in less than six years, mobile subscriptions will reach 9.5 billion and smartphone subscriptions – 6.1 billion. What is interesting about this finding is that MENA will play a key role in this tendency.

The research has estimated that in 2014 mobile PCs, tablets and mobile router subscriptions have reached 300 million. Also, smartphone subscriptions have hit 2.7 billion, 800 million of them were added this year. However, for now, barely 37% of mobile subscriptions are for smartphones.

For 2020, however, the report paints a completely different picture. It predicts that mobile PCs, tablets and mobile router subscriptions will increase to 650 million and that smartphone subscriptions will jump to 6.1 billion. In addition, the total number of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2020 is expected to hit the unbelievable 9.5 billion. In other words, 90% of the world’s population over 6 years old will have a mobile phone by that year.

A key factor for the fast growth in smartphone subscriptions, according to the report, has to do with the fact that a large number of subscribers in the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific are switching from basic phones to smartphones. In addition, the research states that between 2014 and 2020, the Middle East and Africa will see an increase of 3G/4G subscriptions by the staggering 85%.

Also, in Q3 2014, new mobile subscriptions in the Middle East alone amounted to 6 million. That is 1 million more compared to the number of new mobile subscription in North America for the same period.

The biggest markets in the world continue to be India and China, where new mobile subscriptions in Q3 2014 reached 18 million and 12 million, respectively.
The report also outlines a few leading trends that will gain more rise over the next years. Among them are mobile video calls. The study predicts that by 2020 it will witness a jump of 55%.

One of the most impressing conclusions made in the report is about the mobile data consumed by smartphone users today and in 2020. According to researchers, in 2014, the average smartphone user consumes approximately 900MB of mobile data per month. However, in less than six years, this number will surpass 3GB. Similar will be the case with PCs and tablets. Today, an average PC or tablet user is consuming about 1.9GB data every month. By 2020, it will hit 4.3GB.

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