New Study Sees 4G Market Double in 2015; Industry Accounts For 4.2% of Global GDP
The number of 4G mobile connections worldwide has surpassed the one billion mark and is on track to account for a third of all mobile connections by 2020, according to a new study by the GSMA. The 2016 global edition of the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Economy’ series of reports points to an accelerating technology shift to 3G/4G mobile broadband networks across both developed and developing markets, which is fuelling digital innovation, smartphone adoption and mobile data growth. The study calculates that the mobile industry made a $3.1 trillion contribution to the world economy last year, equivalent to 4.2 per cent of global GDP.
“Our new report reveals that mobile broadband is now a truly global phenomenon, extending high-speed connectivity and services to citizens in all corners of the world,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “The unprecedented growth in mobile broadband last year is testament to the billions of dollars that mobile operators have invested in next-generation networks, services and spectrum in recent years. Mobile is now the most ubiquitous platform for people and businesses to connect and innovate in today’s digital economy.”
4G accounted for one billion of the 7.3 billion mobile connections1 reached by the end of 2015. The number of 4G connections doubled in 2015, largely as a result of the increase in 4G network deployments in the developing world. At the end of the year there were 451 live 4G (LTE) networks available in 151 countries, with almost half of these in the developing world. 4G is forecast to account for around a third of the almost nine billion mobile connections expected by 2020. Mobile broadband networks (3G and 4G) accounted for 50 per cent of connections in 2015, a figure set to rise to 70 per cent by 2020.
The combination of increasing mobile broadband access and rising smartphone adoption is contributing to an explosion in mobile data usage. Smartphones accounted for 45 per cent of mobile connections in 2015 (up from just 8 per cent in 2010) and a further 2.6 billion smartphone connections are expected to be added over the next five years. Mobile data volumes are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 49 per cent over the next five years – a more than seven-fold increase – approaching 40 exabytes per month by 20202. This will be equivalent to a global average of 7 gigabytes per subscriber per month.