Ericsson has reported that approximately 40 percent of all phones sold in the third-quarter 2012 were smartphones. Data traffic for smartphones is expected to exceed the overall average by up to 12 times by 2018, mainly driven by video.

Ericsson’s research shows that online video is the biggest contributor to mobile traffic volumes, constituting 25 percent of total smartphone traffic and 40 percent of total tablet traffic. This puts new requirements on networks to cater for quality anywhere and anytime.

Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy at Ericsson, notes that, “Expectations of mobile-network quality have been elevated by the availability of smartphones and tablets that have changed the way we use the internet. Mobility is becoming an increasingly significant part of our daily lives; we always have devices within arm’s reach, allowing us instant access to information, entertainment and social interaction.”

According to projections from Informa telecoms and media, over a third of mobile connections in South Africa will be via smartphones by the end of 2016, with an excess of 15 percent in Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria. Total mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 9.3 billion in 2018 excluding machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions. China alone accounted for about 35 percent of net additions during the third quarter, closely followed by Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines respectively.

Data traffic is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 50 percent between 2012 and 2018, driven mainly by video. Similarly LTE (Long Term Evolution) subscriptions are expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2018 with more than half the world’s population expected to benefit from to LTE coverage in the coming five years.

LTE is the fastest-developing system in the history of mobile communications in terms of build out and uptake and is currently being deployed and built out in all regions.

In previous reports, Ericsson predicted that 85 percent of the world’s population will be covered by high-speed mobile internet by 2017 and Mobile Data Traffic will grow 10-fold by 2016