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Mobility Report
November 2018
2 Introduction Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Letter from the publisher

The power of 5G

So here we are with a new “G” after years of research, standardization and trials.
The telecom industry as well as many other industries are looking with great
anticipation at what 5G might bring. In this edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report,
we continue to broaden our perspective and deepen our analysis to provide
insights into an industry going through a pivotal change.
For communications service providers, a successful mobile broadband
business is the base for addressing all the new opportunities that lie ahead.
5G is a key component of this, as new spectrum and the promise of lower
cost per gigabyte delivered will be key drivers of 5G deployment.
As 5G hits the market, the mobile ecosystem is larger and more widespread
and extensive than ever. Momentum is building in many markets as service
providers accelerate their plans for 5G rollout. In 2024, we project that 5G will
reach 40 percent population coverage and 1.5 billion subscriptions, making it the
fastest generation ever to be rolled out on a global scale. This is driven by new,
innovative solutions that reuse existing infrastructure and available spectrum.
In parallel to the 5G rollout, cellular IoT is passing new milestones on its way
to becoming the technology of choice for wide-area IoT applications. Boosted by
a strong uptake in North East Asia, cellular IoT connections are set to pass the
4 billion mark by 2024.
As 5G arrives I am sure it will be the starting point for fundamental changes.
Imagine the power of an industry with 6 billion subscribers and the potential for
innovation with 5G in their hands.
I hope you find the report engaging and useful!

Fredrik Jejdling
Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks

Key contributors
Executive Editor: Patrik Cerwall
Project Manager: Anette Lundvall
Editors: Peter Jonsson, Stephen Carson
Forecasts: Richard Möller
Articles: Peter Jonsson, Stephen Carson, Per Lindberg,
Kati Öhman, Ida Sorlie, Ricardo Queirós, Frank Muller,
Lisa Englund, Mats Arvedson, Anders Carlsson
3 Introduction Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018


04 Mobile subscriptions Q3 2018
06 Mobile subscriptions outlook
08 IoT connections outlook
10 5G device outlook
11 Voice over LTE outlook
12 Regional subscriptions outlook
14 Mobile traffic Q3 2018
15 Mobile traffic by
application category
16 Mobile data traffic outlook
18 Network coverage

20 Making fixed wireless access a reality
24 Streaming video – from
megabits to gigabytes
26 Developing the smart wireless
manufacturing market

28 Methodology
29 Glossary
30 Global and regional key figures

Find out more

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The content of this document is based on

a number of theoretical dependencies and
assumptions and Ericsson shall not be
bound by or liable for any statement,
representation, undertaking or omission
made in this document. Furthermore
Ericsson may at any time change the
contents of this document at its sole
discretion and shall not be liable for the
consequences of such changes.
4 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Mobile subscriptions Q3 2018

The total number of mobile subscriptions was around

7.9 billion in Q3 2018, with 120 million new subscriptions
added during the quarter.

The number of mobile subscriptions grew at The number of LTE subscriptions

3 percent year-on-year and currently totals increased by 200 million during the quarter
7.9 billion. China had the most net additions to reach a total of 3.3 billion. The net
during the quarter (+37 million), followed addition for WCDMA/HSPA was around
by India (+31 million) and Indonesia 60 million subscriptions.
(+13 million). The high subscription growth Over the same period, GSM/EDGE-only There are now 5.7 billion mobile
in China continues from Q1 and Q2, and subscriptions declined by 110 million. Other broadband subscriptions.
is likely the result of intense competition technologies declined by around 30 million.
among communications service providers. Subscriptions associated with
The number of mobile broadband smartphones now account for more than
subscriptions1 is growing at 15 percent 60 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions.
year-on-year, increasing by 240 million Around 360 million smartphones were sold in
in Q3 2018. The total is now 5.7 billion. Q3, which equates to 86 percent of all mobile
phones sold in the quarter.

Mobile subscriptions Q3 2018 (million)

North America 380

Latin America 680

Western Europe 515

Central and
Eastern Europe

Middle East 410

Africa 1,045
APAC (excluding
China and India)

China 1,545

India 1,175


Mobile broadband includes radio access technologies HSPA (3G),
LTE (4G), 5G, CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and Mobile WiMAX
5 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

New mobile subscriptions Q3 2018 (million)

North America

Latin America 1
There were 120 million new mobile
Western Europe 2 subscriptions globally in Q3 2018.

Central and
Eastern Europe

Middle East 2 Top countries by net additions Q3 2018

Africa 14 1 China +37 million

2 India +31 million
APAC (excluding 3 Indonesia +13 million
China and India)

China 37

India 31

The number of mobile subscriptions exceeds As a result, the number of mobile

the population in many countries, which subscribers is lower than the number of
is largely due to inactive subscriptions, mobile subscriptions. Today, there are
multiple device ownership or optimization around 5.6 billion subscribers globally
of subscriptions for different types of calls. compared to 7.9 billion subscriptions.
Global subscription penetration
is at 104 percent in Q3 2018.
Subscription penetration Q3 2018 (percent of population)

Western Europe

Central and
Eastern Europe

North America

82% 111%
Middle East

104% India
America 117%

*excluding China and India

6 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Mobile subscriptions outlook

5G has now been commercially launched.

There is strong momentum in the global 2018 and 2024, key drivers for 5G
5G market. In the United States, one of the deployment include increased network A 5G subscription is counted as
major communications service providers capacity and decreased cost per byte. 5G such when associated with a device
launched a 5G home internet service at subscription uptake is expected to be faster that supports New Radio (NR) as
the beginning of October, and all four of than for LTE, which in turn is the mobile specified in 3GPP Release 15, and
the country’s major service providers have communication technology with the connected to a 5G-enabled network.
publicly announced that they will begin fastest subscription uptake so far.
providing 5G services between late 2018 LTE has been the dominant mobile
and mid-2019. Other markets expecting access technology since the end of 2017.
significant 5G subscription volumes early The number of LTE subscriptions continues
include South Korea, Japan and China. to grow strongly and is forecast to reach
In Europe, some spectrum auctions have 5.4 billion by the end of 2024, when it
already been held, and others will take will make up more than 60 percent of
place over the next few years. The first all mobile subscriptions. The number of
commercial 5G subscriptions in the WCDMA/HSPA subscriptions has declined
region are expected in 2019. slightly during 2018, though the technology
On a global level, major 5G network is still estimated to account for close to
deployments are anticipated from 2020, 17 percent of all subscriptions in 2024.
and by the end of 2024 we project 1.5 billion Cellular IoT connections and fixed
5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile wireless access (FWA) subscriptions
broadband. This will account for close to supporting new use cases will come on
17 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that top of the mobile subscriptions shown
time. With global mobile data traffic forecast in the graph below.
to increase more than 5 times between

Mobile subscriptions by technology (billion)

8.9 5G
billion LTE
billion GSM/EDGE-only

7 CDMA-only

1 Note: IoT connections and

FWA subscriptions are not
0 included in this graph
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
7 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Subscriptions and subscribers (billion)

Mobile subscriptions
8 Mobile broadband subscriptions
Mobile subscribers
7 Fixed broadband subscriptions
Mobile PCs, tablets and router subscriptions


In 2024, there will be 8.9 billion
2 mobile subscriptions, 8.4 billion
mobile broadband subscriptions and
6.2 billion unique mobile subscribers.
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024

Close to 95 percent of all subscriptions Smartphone subscriptions

will be for mobile broadband by the by technology (billion)
end of 2024.
We forecast that there will be 8.9 billion Net additions 7.2 5G
mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024. billion LTE
Mobile broadband subscriptions will reach
8.4 billion, accounting for close to 95 percent billion GSM/EDGE-only
of all mobile subscriptions. The number of Other
unique mobile subscribers is estimated 6
to reach 6.2 billion by the end of the 5.0
forecast period. billion +1,480
Mobile broadband will complement
fixed broadband in some segments and will
be the dominant mode of access in others.1 4 +1,450
Subscriptions for PCs and tablets with mobile
capabilities are expected to show moderate
growth, reaching 330 million in 2024. 3 -690
Smartphone penetration continues to rise.
At the end of 2018, there will be 5 billion
smartphone subscriptions, 99 percent of 2
which will be for 3G and 4G. The number
of smartphone subscriptions is forecast to
reach 7.2 billion in 2024, when practically -10
all will be for mobile broadband.
2018 2024

 he number of fixed broadband users is at least three times the number of fixed broadband connections,
due to shared subscriptions in households, enterprises and public access spots. This is the opposite to the
situation for mobile phones, where subscription numbers exceed user numbers
8 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

IoT connections outlook

The number of cellular IoT connections is expected

to reach 4.1 billion in 2024 – increasing with
an annual growth rate of 27 percent.

There is an emerging trend toward (LPWA) use cases over the same underlying in addition to the ongoing deployment of
communications service providers LTE network. The table to the right shows Cat-M1 technology. Both technologies are
deploying one IoT network that supports the IoT connections forecast, where the being deployed to complement each other
both Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technologies. This cellular IoT connections category is part across regions worldwide.
enables them to address the diverse and of the wide-area IoT segment. Large-scale deployments, and the
evolving requirements across a wide range resulting high-volume chipsets, are expected
of use cases in different verticals, such as More advanced IoT use cases emerging to continue to reduce chipset prices. This is
utilities, smart cities, logistics, agriculture, As the IoT application market is widening, leading to further acceleration of the growth
manufacturing and wearables. more advanced use cases requiring in cellular IoT connections.
Massive IoT cellular technologies enhanced network capabilities are
such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1 are taking off emerging. Examples of such capabilities
and driving growth in the number of cellular are support for optimized voice quality, IoT connections (billion)
IoT connections worldwide. Of the 4.1 billion more accurate device positioning and
cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, support for device mobility at high speed. IoT 2018 2024 CAGR
North East Asia is anticipated to account Service providers have announced Wide-area IoT 1.1 4.5 27%
for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the deployment of 85 cellular IoT networks
the ambitions and size of the cellular worldwide using Cat-M1 and/or NB-IoT.1 Cellular IoT 2
1.0 4.1 27%
IoT market in this region. In both Europe and Asia, deployments of Short-range IoT 7.5 17.8 15%
These complementary technologies Cat-M1 have commenced, while NB-IoT
support diverse low-power wide-area is now also being deployed in North America, Total 8.6 22.3 17%

Cellular IoT connections per region (billion)

South East Asia and Oceania
North East Asia
Western Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
Middle East and Africa
North America
2.5 Latin America





2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024

GSA (October 2018)
These figures are also included in the figures for wide-area IoT
9 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

IoT traffic characteristics IoT traffic volume is limited but increasing size, message interval and number of
Since 2013, the number of cellular connected To date, IoT has been characterized by a devices deployed per square kilometer.
devices has grown at a compounded annual very large number of connections, small Beyond massive deployments of devices
rate of 33 percent. Over the same period, data volumes and, in some cases, stringent generating limited data volumes, there is an
traffic per connected device has grown much requirements on energy consumption. Typical evolving range of IoT applications that have
faster due to an increasing share of devices uses are sensor, monitor or control data IoT stringent requirements on availability, delay
generating higher traffic volumes. However, applications. In many markets, ultra-low-end and reliability. Applications include traffic
cellular IoT traffic still represents a very IoT applications with limited demands on safety, automated vehicles, drones and
small portion of total mobile traffic in throughput, such as sensors and monitoring, industrial automation. These can generate
service providers’ networks. were the first services to be built on NB-IoT many times more data traffic than massive
Most of today’s cellular IoT applications technology. Data traffic generated by such IoT applications, depending on the specific
generate relatively small data traffic volumes devices is generally low; the typical data use case. They could be based on LTE devices
in mobile networks. The installed base of packet for a sensor-based service is about where, for example, an LTE Cat 4 device
IoT devices is a distribution of 2G, 3G and 100–150 bytes, with a payload comprised supports data rates of 150Mbps in downlink
LTE technology. A majority of these are 2G of a device ID, time stamp and reported and 50Mbps in uplink; or have use case
devices, due to the long life cycles of sensors data values. NB-IoT technology is capable requirements that only future 5G network
and applications with basic requirements. of supporting data rates of 227Kbps in capabilities can meet. NB-IoT and Cat-M1
This distribution is expected to change as a uplink and 250Kbps in downlink. will continue to coexist with the introduction
broader range of use cases evolve over time, Cat-M1 is a second technology of 5G networks.
along with the continued deployment of designed and standardized for massive IoT The diagram below illustrates that, as
supporting LTE-based IoT technologies applications and is capable of supporting new enabling IoT technologies are deployed,
and future capabilities of 5G networks. data rates up to 1Mbps in both the uplink both the number of connections and the
and downlink. traffic per connection over cellular networks
The traffic volume generated by massive will drive increasing traffic volumes.
IoT applications is a function of message

Evolution of cellular networks supporting IoT traffic growth

4G IoT traffic
Number of devices Traffic/device

NB-IoT and Cat-M1




2G 3G 4G 5G

Large installed base Small installed base Fast-growing base New capabilities available
(expected to remain) (device costs limit growth) (growing ecosystem)
10 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

5G device outlook

The state of the device market is always a good indicator

of the expectations for a new technology generation.

The third quarter of 2018 has been chipset and infrastructure vendors need to are expected by the end of 2019, which
remarkable: a number of device vendors work on three non-standalone 5G variants will enable more 5G-capable devices with
revealed their 5G ambitions, capturing almost concurrently: TDD for mmWave, enhanced architectures and lower power
the attention of the tech-savvy with their TDD for mid-band and FDD for low band. consumption. Modules for laptops and
5G smartphone designs. Recently, it has Standalone 5G is also starting to emerge. industrial applications are expected within
become apparent that 5G anticipation is Compared to the introduction of LTE, the same time frame.
much greater than that experienced in the the scope of 5G technical variants is The situation for mmWave looks very
lead-up to LTE. Key suppliers of cellular much wider. similar to that for mid-band, with the
chipsets are spending significant resources Despite the complexities, device and caveat that mmWave can be seen as more
on developing their 5G offerings. infrastructure vendors are now continuously challenging as this frequency domain has
Clearly 5G is at the front of announcing products for mmWave, mid-band not been used in small form-factor cellular
everyone’s mind – but it should also and low-band variants. More than 20 devices devices before. Power consumption,
be remembered that this is just the were announced in October 2018 alone. The antenna technology and Additional
beginning of a major technology shift, figure below illustrates our projected timing Maximum Power Reduction (A-MPR) are all
with many challenges ahead. for commercial 5G device offerings. more challenging for mmWave compared
There are strong indications that to mid- and low-band devices.
Frequency diversity indoor customer-provided equipment In summary, 5G will take off in 2019
Not every market has the same access to (CPE) and pocket routers for mid-band and 2020 will be the year in which 5G
spectrum. While millimeter wave (mmWave) will be available by the end of the year. For enters the mass market. At this point in
spectrum bands are an important topic smartphones we forecast a strong lineup time, third-generation chipsets will have
in North America, other markets will for Q2 2019. At this point it is difficult to been introduced and a large number of
concentrate on sub-6GHz spectrum in accurately predict release timing or number devices will be available.
different forms and variants. This means of vendors, but second-generation chipsets

Accumulated 5G device release forecast Number of mid-band devices Number of mmWave devices Number of low-band devices

Q4 2018 Q1 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4 2019

Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Fixed wireless 1 3
(outdoor) 1 3

CPE/pocket 4 4
router (indoor) 5 5

Smartphone 6 2+ 2+



Accumulated 5G
devices available
December 2019
11 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Voice over LTE outlook

At the end of 2018, VoLTE subscriptions will be close

to 1.4 billion, with operators introducing a wide range
of new voice service use cases.

Evolution of voice services The number of VoLTE subscriptions is enabled devices are available, and over
to IP, cloud and 5G projected to reach 6 billion by the end of 15 service providers have deployed
Communications service providers continue 2024, accounting for around 90 percent the service.5
to evolve their voice services and build of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions. Cellular smartwatches with VoLTE-based
IP-based communication service networks VoLTE technology will be the foundation voice calls enabled have gained market
based on VoLTE. It has now been launched for enabling 5G voice calls on different traction, with more than 50 service provider
in more than 155 networks in over types of 5G devices. launches during the last year. Video calling
75 countries, across all regions.1 over LTE (ViLTE) has been launched by over
VoLTE is now being deployed using New use case uptake 20 service providers, and there are more
cloud/NFV technologies in order to support and device availability than 220 device models6 available.
more cost-efficient network operations, There are more than 1,800 VoLTE-enabled Other VoLTE-based services include Wi-Fi
enabling faster scaling of capacity as well device models.3 The usage of next-generation calling, voice in IoT devices, multi-device
as faster deployment of new services. 3GPP standardized voice codec (devices such as phones, smartwatches and
The building of globally connected Enhanced Voice Services (EVS), also smart speakers sharing a phone number) and
VoLTE services has started, with more than known as HD voice+,4 is starting to pick up. multi-persona (a single phone using several
20 service providers having signed VoLTE HD voice+ provides improved audio and phone numbers), while combinations with,
roaming agreements and over 10 holding music quality within calls on VoLTE-capable for example, augmented and virtual reality
voice interconnect agreements nationally devices, as well as better call reliability across in 5G are being explored.
or internationally.2 LTE and Wi-Fi. More than 150 HD voice+

VoLTE subscriptions by region (billion)

Latin America
billion North America
6 Europe
Middle East and Africa
Asia Pacific

3 billion

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024

GSMA (October 2018)
Ericsson and GSMA (October 2018)
GSA (August 2018), supporting different regions and frequencies
GSMA trademark
GSA (September 2018)
GSA (August 2018)
12 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Regional subscriptions outlook

Mobile broadband1 drives subscription

growth across all regions.

Mobile subscriptions by region and technology (percent)

2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024

42% 42% 82% 43% 57% 29% 87% 55% 5G

81% 63%
74% LTE


Note: Technologies with

less than 1 percent of
subscriptions are not
shown in the graph
India Middle East South East Asia Central and Latin America North East Western Europe North America
and Africa and Oceania Eastern Europe Asia

In India, GSM/EDGE-only has remained markets where around 40 percent of mobile

the dominant technology during 2018, subscriptions are for mobile broadband. At
accounting for around 56 percent of total the end of 2018, more than 20 percent of
mobile subscriptions at the end of this year. all mobile subscriptions will be for LTE in
However, the country has experienced strong the Middle East and North Africa, while in
growth in the number of LTE subscriptions Sub-Saharan Africa, LTE will account for Globally, mobile broadband
over the last couple of years, and at the just over 7 percent of subscriptions. The subscriptions now make up
end of 2018 LTE will account for close region is anticipated to evolve over the 74 percent of all mobile subscriptions.
to 30 percent of all mobile subscriptions. forecast period and, by 2024, 90 percent
As the transformation toward more of subscriptions are expected to be for
advanced technologies continues in India, mobile broadband. Driving factors behind
LTE is forecast to represent 81 percent of this shift include a young and growing
all mobile subscriptions at the end of 2024. population with increasing digital skills,
5G subscriptions are expected to become as well as more affordable smartphones.
available in 2022. In the Middle East and North Africa, we
The Middle East and Africa comprises anticipate commercial 5G deployments with
over 70 countries and is a diverse region. leading communications service providers
It varies from advanced markets which by 2019, and significant volumes in 2021.
have mobile broadband subscription In Sub-Saharan Africa, 5G subscriptions in
penetration of 100 percent, and emerging discernible volumes are expected from 2022.

 obile broadband includes radio access technologies
HSPA (3G), LTE (4G), 5G, CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and Mobile WiMAX
13 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

A connected world: mobile broadband subscription levels globally are rising

South East Asia and Oceania includes in 2024. The first 5G deployments will be

developed markets with some of the most possible in the 3.5GHz band during 2019.
advanced networks in the world, as well Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico
as developing economies that have only are anticipated to be the first countries in
recently launched LTE. WCDMA/HSPA is still the region to deploy 5G, with increased
the dominant technology, at 48 percent of subscription uptake forecast from 2020. 55 percent of mobile subscriptions
all subscriptions. However, LTE subscriptions North America, North East Asia and in North America are expected
grew by 70 percent during 2018, taking a Western Europe have high shares of mobile to be for 5G in 2024.
share of 26 percent. This transformation is broadband subscriptions. Countries within
expected to continue over the forecast period these regions have developed economies,
and, in 2024, LTE is projected to account for enabling a high adoption rate of information China alone will have more than 1.3 billion
63 percent of all mobile subscriptions in the and communications technology. LTE subscriptions at the end of 2018.
region. 5G subscriptions are expected to In North America, 5G commercialization 5G is expected to be deployed early in
become available in 2021. is moving at a rapid pace, and the region is South Korea, Japan and China and, by the
In Central and Eastern Europe, the the first to launch commercial 5G services. end of the forecast period, 5G subscription
transition from WCDMA/HSPA to LTE In the United States, one of the four major penetration is projected to exceed
is continuing. LTE is forecast to become service providers deployed a 5G fixed 43 percent in North East Asia.
the dominant technology in 2019 and wireless internet service at the beginning of In Western Europe, LTE is the dominant
to account for around 86 percent of all October 2018, and another has announced access technology, accounting for 57 percent
mobile subscriptions in 2024. The first 5G plans to deploy 5G based on the 3GPP 5G of all subscriptions. WCDMA/HSPA continues
subscriptions are expected in 2019, and standard by the end of 2018. The other to decline and will represent only 2 percent of
will make up close to 10 percent of total two major service providers are expected subscriptions in 2024. The region is preparing
subscriptions in 2024. to launch 5G services in early 2019. LTE for 5G, with many operators planning
In Latin America, LTE became the penetration is currently 87 percent in commercial launches during 2019. By the
dominant radio access technology in 2018, North America, which is the highest end of 2024, 5G is forecast to account for
accounting for 42 percent of all subscriptions share globally. By the end of 2024, around 30 percent of all mobile subscriptions.
– just above WCDMA/HSPA, with a share of we anticipate more than 250 million 5G
39 percent. The distribution of technology subscriptions in the region, accounting for
is expected to change dramatically over over 55 percent of all mobile subscriptions.
the forecast period, with LTE projected to In North East Asia, the share of
represent three-quarters of all subscriptions LTE subscriptions is high at 82 percent.
14 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Mobile traffic Q3 2018

Increased mobile data traffic in North East Asia drives

the global year-on-year growth rate to 79 percent.

Traffic1 growth is driven by both the rising The increased mobile data traffic per
number of smartphone subscriptions and smartphone in North East Asia this year,
an increasing average data volume per mainly in China, has pushed up the global
subscription, fueled primarily by more traffic significantly. The global traffic growth
viewing of video content. The graph below rate has been influenced by individual
shows total global monthly data and voice regions before, for example by North America
traffic from Q2 2013 to Q3 2018, along with in 2015 and by India in 2016.
the year-on-year percentage change for The quarter-on-quarter growth was
mobile data traffic. around 17 percent.
In Q3 2018, mobile data traffic grew
close to 79 percent year-on-year, which
is the highest growth rate since 2013.

Circuit-switched voice Data Year-on-year growth


20 100

Total (uplink + downlink) traffic (EB per month)

16 80

Year-on-year growth (percent)


12 60


8 40

4 20

0 0
Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Source: Ericsson traffic measurements (Q3 2018)

Traffic does not include DVB-H, Wi-Fi or Mobile WiMAX. VoIP is included in data traffic
15 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Mobile traffic by
application category

Mobile video traffic continues to grow, driven by increased Calculate the traffic impact of
viewing time, online embedded video and streaming different application categories
services, plus the evolution toward higher resolutions. mobility-calculator

Video traffic in mobile networks is forecast Explore the

to grow by around 35 percent annually Main drivers for video traffic growth relationship between
through 2024 to account for 74 percent of – Video part of most online content the usage of various
all mobile data traffic. Traffic from social (news, ads, social media, etc.) app types and
networking is also expected to rise – – Video sharing services monthly traffic per
increasing by 24 percent annually over the – Video streaming services subscription. Fill in
next 6 years. However, its relative share of – Changing user behavior – your app usage figures and benchmark
traffic will decline from 11 percent in 2018 video being consumed the resulting data consumption against
to around 8 percent in 2024, because of the anywhere, any time six pre-set data consumption profiles.
stronger growth of video.1 – Increased segment penetration,
not just early adopters
Video is everywhere – Evolving devices with larger
Increasing video usage is the main driver screens and higher resolutions
behind the growth in mobile data traffic. – Increased network performance
Users spend increasing amounts of time through evolved 4G deployments
both streaming and sharing video. This – Emerging immersive media
trend is expected to continue, as video formats and applications (HD/UHD,
is increasingly embedded in all types of 360-degree video, AR, VR)
online content. In addition, emerging media
formats and applications, such as streaming
high-quality video and augmented/virtual
reality, will continue to drive traffic growth
while enhancing the user experience.

Mobile data traffic by application category per month (percent)

Web browsing
Social networking
Software download and update
Other segments
In 2024, video will P2P file sharing
account for around
74% of mobile
data traffic


2018 2024
27EB 136EB
per month per month

Traffic from embedded video in web browsing and social media is included in the application category “Video”
16 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Mobile data traffic outlook

In 2024, 5G networks will carry 25 percent

of global mobile data traffic.

Monthly mobile data traffic per smartphone Mobile data traffic per active smartphone (GB per month)
continues to increase in all regions, driven
by improved device capabilities and more Middle East 2018 2.9
affordable data plans, as well as an increase and Africa 2024 15
in data-intensive content.
2018 7.3
North America has the highest monthly North East Asia
2024 21
usage, reaching 8.6 gigabytes (GB) at the
end of this year, and is set to reach 50GB South East Asia 2018 3.8
by the end of 2024. In North East Asia, traffic and Oceania 2024 19
per smartphone has grown strongly during
2018 – increasing by around 140 percent 2018 3.4
Latin America
2024 18
year-on-year. The region now has the
second-highest monthly usage at 7.3GB and 2018 6.8
is projected to reach 21GB at the end of the India
2024 15
forecast period. Attractive data plans as well
as innovative mobile apps and content are Central and 2018 4.7
driving growth in China. Eastern Europe 2024 19

Western 2018 6.1

Total mobile data traffic is expected Europe 2024 32
to be five times higher
Close to 90 percent of total mobile data 2018 8.6
North America
traffic is generated by smartphones today 2024 50
– a figure which is projected to reach
0 10 20 30 40 50
95 percent at the end of 2024. As monthly
usage per smartphone continues to increase,
total mobile data traffic is predicted to rise at Global mobile data traffic (EB per month) 5G data traffic 4G/3G/2G data traffic
a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of
31 percent over the forecast period, reaching
136 exabytes (EB) per month by the end
of 2024. It is expected that 25 percent of
mobile data traffic worldwide will be carried
by 5G networks at that time. This is 1.3 times
more than the total traffic today.
Currently, the 5G traffic forecast does not
include traffic generated by fixed wireless
access (FWA) services. However, as FWA 80
is one of the early use cases planned for 5G
in some regions, it could have a significant
impact on the forecast figures, depending 60
on market uptake of the service.



2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024
17 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Regional mobile data traffic (EB per month)

40 39




20 19
17 16
15 14
10 9.5 9.2

3.2 2.6 3
1.6 1.5 1.8 2.2

2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024 2018 2024

North Latin Western Central and Middle East North East South East India
America America Europe Eastern and Africa Asia Asia and
Europe Oceania

6 6 5 6 9 4 7 4

North East Asia’s monthly mobile data In the Middle East and Africa, total broadband-intensive services, such as video,
traffic is set to reach 39EB in 2024 mobile data traffic is expected to grow and new applications like virtual reality and
North East Asia is the world’s most populous by nine times during the forecast period augmented reality, in 2024 total mobile data
region and, as such, has the largest share – representing the highest growth rate traffic is expected to exceed 19EB per month
of global mobile data traffic – close to globally. Smartphone subscriptions are in North America and 14EB per month in
30 percent at the end of 2018. In 2024, projected to double, increasing penetration Western Europe.
total mobile data traffic in the region is from 45 percent to 70 percent. In 2024, total
forecast to reach 39EB per month. The monthly mobile data traffic is projected to
rapid growth in mobile broadband reach 17EB in the region. There will be nine times more mobile
subscriptions is expected to continue. North America and Western Europe have data traffic in the Middle East and
China is set to add around 170 million a larger share of the total traffic volume than Africa in 2024.
mobile broadband subscriptions by the subscription numbers imply. This is due to well
end of 2024, which – together with the built-out LTE networks and high penetration
increased usage per smartphone – will of high-end user devices, complemented with
drive total data traffic up to 29EB per affordable packages offering large volumes
month in the country. of data. With increased consumption of
18 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Network coverage

5G is projected to cover more than 40 percent

of the world’s population in 2024.

Communications service providers have currently at over 60 percent and is forecast

been focused on providing sufficient radio to reach around 90 percent in 2024.
signal for the world’s inhabitants, which is LTE networks are also evolving to
defined as population coverage (as opposed deliver increased network capacity and
to geographical coverage). Today, mobile faster data speeds. There are currently
networks cover around 95 percent of the 679 commercial LTE networks deployed A total of 25 gigabit LTE networks
world’s population and this figure in 208 countries. Of these, 270 have have been commercially launched.
continues to grow. been upgraded to LTE-Advanced,
There is continued momentum toward and 25 gigabit LTE networks have
the build-out of LTE networks, driven by been commercially launched.
the demand for internet access and video Gigabit networks will lead to higher peak
streaming as well as a variety of other apps. rates, increased network capacity and faster
In terms of population coverage, LTE is average end-user data speeds.

Percentage and number of LTE-Advanced networks

supporting various categories of devices


20% 38
9% 4 1%
Source: Ericsson and GSA (October 2018)
Cat 4 Cat 6 Cat 9 Cat 11 Cat 15 Cat 16 Cat 18
150Mbps 300Mbps 450Mbps 600Mbps 800Mbps 1Gbps >1.05Gbps

Provisioning of sufficient radio signal is key for population coverage

19 Forecasts Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

2019 will be the year that 5G takes off bands. Deployments in existing LTE bands
5G networks are currently being deployed in can be rapidly upgraded to support 5G
several regions worldwide and commercial services in many networks by installing new
launches are already taking place. One of software; for example, spectrum sharing
the first 5G use cases will be fixed wireless between LTE and 5G in low to mid-bands.
access, as devices with form factors More than 40 percent of the world’s
suitable for customer premises equipment population is forecast to be covered by
will be early to the market, and will not 5G in 2024.
have the stringent size, weight and power
consumption requirements that come
with smartphones. World population coverage by technology1
As 5G smartphones become available
during 2019, several service providers Total population coverage of 3GPP cellular technologies
are expected to commercially launch 5G.
In North America and North East Asia,
2017 ~95%
significant 5G subscription volumes are
expected early. 2024 >95%

5G population coverage build-out

is expected to be faster than LTE
In terms of build-out and subscription LTE
uptake, LTE has been the fastest-deployed
mobile communication technology to
2017 >60%
date. Initial LTE build-out was led by
Western Europe, North America, Japan 2024 ~90%
and South Korea. With the exception of
Western Europe, these areas, along with
China, are expected to also lead the 5G
population coverage build-out. 5G
5G coverage build-out can be divided into
three broad categories: radio deployments
2017 0%
in new bands in the sub-6GHz range,
deployments in millimeter wave frequency 2024 >40%
bands and deployments in existing LTE

 he figures refer to population coverage of each technology. The ability to utilize
the technology is subject to factors such as access to devices and subscriptions
20 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Making fixed wireless

access a reality

5G networks are now being built out, with performance

and capacity gains available to be tapped by new use
cases. One of the first will be fixed wireless access (FWA).

Around half of all households in the world Fixed-style subscriptions,

– over 1 billion – do not have a fixed mobile-style dimensioning
broadband connection. Given the current The paradigms for fixed and mobile
speed and capacity of cellular networks broadband are different, in both subscription
with LTE and its evolution to 5G, there offerings and dimensioning.
are opportunities for operators to deliver Around half of all households in
broadband services to homes and small Subscription offerings the world – over 1 billion – are yet to
and medium-sized enterprises Fixed broadband tariffs are commonly have a fixed broadband connection.
economically using FWA. structured around a maximum data rate and
Devices with form factors suitable for include unlimited data traffic. The user traffic
FWA customer premises equipment (CPE), is often managed so that it does not exceed
and without the stringent requirements on the maximum data rate for the subscription.
size, weight and power consumption that The mobile broadband subscription
come with smartphones, will be among paradigm is dominated by monthly data
the first to reach the market. traffic limits (“buckets”), and additional
For FWA to be a viable alternative to monetization is achieved through top-ups
fixed broadband, including xDSL, cable and and upgrades to larger data buckets. For
fiber-optic access technologies, it must be mobile broadband, the network normally
able to be dimensioned with comparable transmits the maximum rate that the system
capacity and performance. While 5G will resources and mobile device can handle.
make this possible, there is also a range FWA inherits the subscription paradigms
of markets to be addressed with LTE of fixed broadband rather than those of
technology on the way to 5G. mobile broadband; households will pay for
In order to explore these opportunities, FWA based on data rate and should not be
some questions need to be answered: concerned about traffic generated.
can a mobile network handle FWA traffic
and support the “unlimited data” model Last-hop dimensioning
common to fixed broadband? And can With FWA, the last hop is wireless, so all
it accommodate the anticipated growth the characteristics of a wireless network
in mobile broadband and FWA, in terms apply. Unlike fiber, but similarly to xDSL loop
of both subscriptions and traffic per length, connection quality will vary across
subscription over time? households. And, unlike fixed broadband
overall, the last hop is point-to-multipoint
radio and therefore shared, which means that
speeds will degrade with increasing cell load.
All these characteristics must be considered
when dimensioning an FWA network.
21 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Focus on busy hour – The best-performing 5 percent of It can, for example, be set to allow a
FWA inherits dimensioning properties from households (see the green line in the standard-definition (SD) television stream,
mobile broadband, as the data rate which graph below) are in good geographic or multiple streams of SD or high-definition
users experience varies with the position positions, with limited degradation (HD) quality, depending on the addressed
of the household relative to the radio base even at high cell load. FWA segment. The minimum data
station, and generally decreases with the – The average households (see blue line) throughput rate could be from 2Mbps up
load of the shared radio resource. have significant degradation at high to 30Mbps, depending on the addressed
First, households are situated at varying cell load. segment. As the cell load increases and
distances from a radio base station site, which – The lowest-performing 5 percent of reaches busy hour, the lowest-performing
results in different experienced data rates. households (see purple line) are in 5 percent of households will finally reach
Second, the data rate differs during difficult positions, with performance the minimum rate, and the cell load at this
busy hour (when large numbers of users are decreasing to critical levels during point is defined as the capacity per site
active), compared to late at night or early periods of high cell load. (as illustrated in the figure below). The
in the morning (when there are fewer minimum rate is only experienced by the
active users in the cell). The network should be dimensioned to lowest-performing 5 percent of households,
The figure below illustrates this combined maintain a given user experience under during busy hour – and is sufficient to
behavior, showing how downlink data rates high load periods. This can be defined as deliver all of the services described in
vary between households and decrease with the minimum data rate that a household the subscription agreement.
load for users in different locations. could experience during busy hour.

Varying downlink data rates for households

5% best-performing
Downlink throughput experienced by user (Mbps)


Most of the time the

downlink throughput will be Average households
significantly above the minimum
rate for all households

5% lowest-performing

Minimum rate

Busy-hour capacity per site

System load (Mbps/site)

22 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Analyzing FWA opportunities The assessment should include market A clear path to expansion
FWA opportunities can look very different segmentation and targeting, creating a map With the performance and capacity
around the world, based on subscriber of feasible coverage areas with subscription gains from enhanced mobile broadband
needs and expectations and availability offerings constructed and priced around the and the evolution to 5G, FWA will be a
of alternatives. An operator considering resulting target segments. feasible opportunity for communications
an FWA launch in a particular area should As an operator’s network evolves from service providers to deploy in many places.
assess factors including the following: LTE through various stages of LTE-Advanced Previous experience from FWA and fixed
to 5G New Radio (NR), the cost of a delivered broadband has shown that an “unlimited”
External factors gigabyte declines and the amount of capacity traffic paradigm does not result in infinite
– density of households in the target area increases – allowing the operator to address demand and network congestion, but
– availability and uptake of fixed more opportunities. is manageable with a combination of
broadband alternatives performance-based service offerings
(xDSL, cable and fiber-optic access) FWA and mobile broadband and average consumption patterns.
– service demand, including telephony, All the FWA opportunities outlined Furthermore, analysis of a demanding
web access and television/video are included on the basis that they are example described here, the American
– government subsidies dimensioned on top of an existing LTE or 5G suburb case, illustrates a clear path to
mobile network built out primarily to serve capacity expansion by following a procedure
Internal factors mobile broadband subscribers. As well as of “utilize, add and densify”. First, network
– LTE radio access network and the advantages of serving an additional assets already in place should be fully
infrastructure, including synergies customer segment, there are a number of utilized, including radio sites, spare capacity
between mobile broadband and FWA technical synergies to be captured beyond in deployed spectrum and associated radio,
– plans and/or activities to build out the administrative efficiencies of common baseband and transport equipment. Next,
5G coverage for other use cases billing and support systems. These include spectrum and radio network capabilities
– availability of additional network trunking effects, spectrum sharing should be added, such as higher-order
spectrum needed gains, and combining businesses with modulation, advanced antenna systems
different or offset busy hours, all of and beamforming, increased sectorization
which improve capacity utilization. and 5G NR access as needed. Finally,
densify with the addition of macro
and small cells when necessary.
23 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Case study: An American suburb

Trade-off between households served and average busy-hour consumption

90 The curves on the graph depict the

results of capacity simulations for
80 each deployment step and show
Percentage of households served

a set of trade-offs between the

(550 households per site)

percentage of households served
60 (y-axis) and gigabytes consumed per
Step 3
3,887Mbps per site household during busy hour (x-axis).

Step 2
30 X 2,860Mbps per site
20 requirement
Step 1
1,330Mbps per site
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Average busy-hour consumption per household (GB/hour)

The situation Step 1 Step 2

The case depicts a suburban area in The initial deployment consists of: Add 60MHz of TDD spectrum (new band),
North America with LTE mobile broadband – undeployed band 10MHz FDD such as 3.7–4.2GHz, and increase
coverage, along with an initial 5G build-out in sub-3GHz bands for LTE bandwidth from 400 to 600MHz
using mid-range spectrum. On average, – 40MHz TDD LTE in new 3.5GHz in the mmWave band
the area has 1,000 households per square band (radios with 8 Tx/Rx including
kilometer and is covered with radio base Multi-User MIMO) The mid-blue region of the figure indicates
stations that have an inter-site distance – 400MHz TDD NR in millimeter the capacity achieved in Step 2. The network
of 2,000 meters. Some fixed broadband wave (mmWave) band could, for example, serve 30 percent of
offerings are available in the area, but there (Massive MIMO radio) households with average busy-hour
is little or no access to fiber to the home – selective densification on utility/light consumption of around 8GB/h. Alternatively,
(FTTH). FWA is deployed on the sites to poles (5 poles per macro site) the higher capacity could be used to serve
compete directly with fixed broadband by – deployment of all 4 bands above a higher percentage of households with
meeting the need for higher-rate offerings 1GHz on the macro sites unchanged average busy-hour consumption
and capacity. Services to be offered include – outdoor CPE focus to maximize (or any combination between those points
IPTV (allowing two 4K UHD video streams, performance and indoor CPE along the curve). Radio units supporting
or a combination of multiple SDTV and as complement 5G NR are needed to handle the new
HDTV streams), internet access and IP sub-6GHz band.
telephony (also known as “triple play”). Step 1 is calculated to have throughput
capacity of 1,330Mbps per site, allowing Step 3
Dimensioning average busy-hour traffic of 3.6GB/h per Deploy an additional 40MHz of TDD
As this case is demanding in terms of both household, which provides some headroom spectrum, such as 3.7–4.2GHz, and
capacity and performance, we include a over the projected actual busy-hour increase bandwidth from 600 to 800MHz
description of its dimensioning and spectrum consumption of 3GB/h. in the mmWave band
utilization based on simulations. The lightest blue region on the graph
To reliably support the demands described above represents Step 1. The “X” indicates The dark blue region in the graph shows
above, a service provider must offer fiber-like the starting requirements: 30 percent of what can be achieved in the third step. This
speeds of 100–1,000+Mbps with a minimum households within the coverage area and configuration would enable the operator
data rate of 30Mbps and capacity to serve average busy-hour consumption of 3GB/h. to serve 30 percent of households with
busy-hour usage per household of 3GB/h. Dimensioning can evolve to handle an average busy-hour consumption of
Assuming 10 percent of total traffic occurs increased capacity requirements – either above 10GB/h, or alternatively serve
during busy hour, this corresponds to average additional connected households or higher 100 percent of the households with over
monthly traffic of 900GB per household. usage per household. The following is an 3.5GB/h or any combination of consumption
In order to deliver traffic with the outline of how additional capacity can and uptake along the curve in between.
expected performance, coverage can be be provided. Beyond this, additional ways to increase
densified so that, on average, a base station capacity are to exploit MU-MIMO in the
covers 550 households. With a projected mmWave band and/or to densify further
30 percent service uptake rate, the initial with more sites.
deployment will need to be dimensioned to
serve 165 households per site. Households
in the lowest-performing 5 percent should
experience a downlink data rate of at least
30Mbps during busy hour.
24 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Streaming video –
from megabits to gigabytes

Smartphone traffic per subscription will continue to grow,

driven by increasing video quality and immersive formats.

By the end of 2024, it is estimated that The increase in video data traffic per

a smartphone will consume more than smartphone user has three main drivers:
21GB of data per month on average – increased viewing time, more video content
nearly 4 times the amount consumed in embedded in news media and social
2018. In addition to this increased usage, networking, and an evolution to higher
the number of smartphone subscriptions resolutions and more demanding formats. At the end of 2024, average data
is set to increase by 45 percent, reaching Today, most mobile video is streamed consumption per smartphone is
a total of 7.2 billion. at low-definition and standard-definition projected to be 21GB per month.
formats 360p and 480p respectively. This is
New video-watching behaviors due to restrictions introduced by both content
drive data consumption and communications service providers, as
Video currently stands out as the most well as customers selecting formats with
significant traffic type consumed by lower bitrates to get the most out of their
smartphone users, at a current average of data bucket. But user behaviors are shifting
60 percent of total traffic. The importance as network capabilities expand and are
of video will only increase; by the end of projected to change more dramatically as 5G
2024, it is projected to account for services are made available. The streaming
74 percent of traffic. of high-definition (HD) video in 720p and
1080p resolutions is increasing, and the
average resolution of a YouTube video in
Evolution of the average smartphone some LTE networks is already up to 720p.
user’s data consumption

World average
Traffic data consumption
category (GB per month)
2018 2024
Downloads 0.6 1.2
Messaging 0.5 0.9
App traffic 1.0 2.1
0.1 0.4
3.4 16.3
Total 5.6 21

Further explore the relationship

between the usage of various
app types and monthly traffic
per subscription with
Ericsson’s Mobility Calculator:
Video data traffic per smartphone user is increasing fast
25 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

New immersive formats are on the horizon

Shifting behaviors Two key factors in enabling new Required performance is related to adaptive
User behaviors are shifting, with low- and immersive formats to go mainstream streaming mechanisms, and is a function
standard-definition video formats being will be reductions in latency and support of the selection of media quality and the
overtaken by HD and Full HD formats. for more symmetrical uplink/downlink avoidance of stalls and re-buffering.
Higher resolutions and complex formats throughput – both of which are attributes There is no definitive “media rate” for
– including 4K, 8K, virtual reality (VR) and of 5G. The graph below compares the any given resolution. The bitrates used to
augmented reality (AR) – are now on the amount of monthly traffic generated over calculate the traffic in the graph below are
horizon but have not generated a significant an incremental five minutes per day of video for comparison purposes and take a wide
amount of traffic to date. Use cases driving viewing at each resolution/format. It should range of variables into consideration –
large-scale streaming of 4K, 8K or VR to be noted that AR applications will have a including container, codec, profile, audio
smartphones have not yet emerged. AR wide range of bitrates dependent on many coding, overheads and, not least, content.
has many potential applications. Industrial factors beyond quality, including the form In addition, AR is a special case, as the
manufacturing and maintenance, sports and amount of augmentation. bitrate is dependent on a further range
events, architecture, navigation and of factors, including the amount of data
tourism are just a few of the areas where Video traffic and throughput sent in the uplink.
AR is expected to have a big impact. Traffic There is a difference between data traffic Given the rate of change in both
generated by AR will depend on many factors, (consumption) and the network performance mobile technology and video media
and will vary across a wide spectrum from needed to deliver a good user experience. streaming, we expect a continued high
very little to extreme. For illustrative purposes Traffic is the product of the bitrate (media growth rate in smartphone traffic on
we use 25Mbps in the graph below. data plus signaling overheads) through time. mobile broadband networks over our
forecast horizon through 2024.

Monthly traffic generated by five minutes of streaming per day





360-degree video (720p)

VR (1080p)

4K (3840x2160)

8K (7680x4320)

AR (25Mbps)

0 5 10 15 20 25 30
26 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Developing the smart wireless

manufacturing market

Combining cellular networks with Industrial IoT (IIoT)

will make manufacturing more effective and flexible –
challenging the traditional connectivity paradigm.

Cellular network capabilities are evolving manufacturing depends on three

from the support of massive IoT to fundamental aspects:
extreme low-latency IoT applications –
meeting the requirements of IIoT. Currently, 1. Bridge the perceived value gap
most use cases on manufacturing sites are To convey the value of cellular
based on wired connections. However, as the connectivity, a common language for
evolving cellular capabilities are challenging use cases and network terminology
industrial ethernet solutions, cables will in needs to be established between
many cases become redundant, introducing industry players and the service
opportunities for more flexible production and network technology providers.
and expanded digital operations.1 2. Address the right pain points
Identifying and mitigating classic
Introducing smart wireless manufacturing manufacturing pain points with cellular
Eventually the currently installed fixed capabilities will more than offset the
network technologies will be incapable switching costs, proving the new
of effectively managing the use case networks’ practical and business value.
requirements in advanced manufacturing. 3. Build horizontal and scalable solutions
However, the ability of communications Horizontal solutions that suit small-scale
service and network technology providers networks as well as highly diverse
to create a new market for smart wireless subsectors are needed in order to address
cost, deployment and spectrum issues.

Bridging the gap between a factory’s functional pain points and cellular capabilities

Mitigate Digital solutions Use case categories Cellular network Benefits achieved
pain points capabilities (3GPP)
––Asset condition monitoring Monitoring Guaranteed QoS and 3GPP Gained transparency;
Downtime and predictive maintenance security standards downtime scheduled,
––Accurate planning and coordination Location Massive and critical mitigated and
––Automatic OEM support Automated support services data handling maintained through a
services and parts ordering Connecting moving assets connected ecosystem
––As-a-service model for New business model One communication platform
spare capacity enabled Private, secure and
configurable networks

––Remotely configurable robotics Intelligent automation Distributed cloud and Added efficiency, better
Bottlenecks ––Intelligent tools like AR, VR and 3D Worker efficiency and quality edge computing planning and quality control
––Virtual design and simulation Configuration Network slicing
with digital twins Unlimited connections, sensors,
machines and processes

––Increased human/machine Location Seamless handover and Risks limited and

Defects or interaction safety scheduled transmissions assets safeguarded and
accidents ––Optimization of environmental Monitoring within cells managed in real-time
safety systems One communication platform
––Digital shadows for real-time twins Automation Low latency (deterministic)

Ericsson Mobility Report, “Realizing smart manufacturing through IoT” (June 2018)
27 Articles Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Mapping manufacturers’ needs to The figure on the previous page starts with From value chain to value network
the value of cellular connectivity the manufacturing perspective, illustrating The choice of connectivity will determine the
A more holistic view of a manufacturing the classic pain points experienced by quality and flexibility of a manufacturer’s
company’s needs is required to chart and a factory, then giving corresponding digital foundation, as well as the possibilities
develop the market demand for smart examples of digital solutions along with and ultimately the value it will bring to their
wireless manufacturing. So far, conveying use case categories and the enabling operations. It affects which equipment and
the value of cellular connectivity has cellular capabilities.3 operations can be connected, how many
focused on specific research and high-end To drive market engagement for cellular assets and processes can run simultaneously,
production scenarios. One example from the networks and their role in enabling smart and how well it scales beyond one
metal cutting industry is real-time sensor wireless manufacturing, it is key to identify geographical site. Manufacturing companies
monitoring of complex and hazardous manufacturers’ main areas of need in that exploit the full value of using cellular
milling processes that cannot be achieved relation to cellular networks’ strengths. networks’ global, wide-area capabilities
with cables or other wireless technologies. beyond a single manufacturing site will
Another use case is moving the intelligence also explore increased internal and external
of industrial robot controllers from physical Focus areas to drive engagement: collaboration, creating tighter value networks
robots to cloud-based applications, by way – processes requiring mobility, such with partners and other stakeholders. With
of a cellular network with edge computing as shop floors with automated the expected growth in demand for digital
capabilities that is deployed on-site. vehicles and assembly warehouses, twins and automated, customized, remote,
The key challenge to position which need secure and precise and even mobile production, the need for
smart wireless manufacturing is that management as well as tracking enhanced wireless network capabilities
manufacturers do not generally identify of traffic, data flows and assets will only increase.
connectivity as a pain point. The limitations – low-volume and high-variance The adoption of cellular networks for
of the legacy networks and how they will manufacturing cases, where connectivity in the manufacturing industry
affect future operational ambitions are not wireless machine line configuration is dependent on how well their enabling role
sufficiently appreciated. However, a few is simple and flexible compared to in smart wireless manufacturing is described
digitally mature manufacturers are actively cabled machine lines in an actual manufacturing context. For
searching for wireless alternatives to – processes that cannot be monitored service and network technology providers
support their digital transformation goals. and controlled via cables but to gain market traction in the industry, it is
require wireless, real-time critical also important to build relationships with
Linking pain points to capabilities data transmission and a stable, production equipment manufacturers in
Manufacturers will gradually adopt deterministic network performance order to lower entry barriers into factories.
supportive applications and concepts, (bandwidth and latency) to operate Also, given the complexity of the factory
from augmented reality to digital twins,2 to – processes susceptible to human environment,4 consultancies and system
address operational pain points. Cellular error, or advanced manufacturing integrators will be necessary channel
networks have superior capabilities in, for that requires tacit knowledge and partners to build the smart wireless
example, mobility, security, availability and skills transfer, where digital tools will manufacturing market.
reliability, to be able to support different be widespread to mitigate for errors
manufacturing use cases. However, there and encourage faster learning
is currently a disconnect between three – processes where coordination
perspectives among manufacturers: the of factories, resources and
understanding of cellular capabilities, how components is time-sensitive or
they enable different digital solutions, crucial for the result (e.g. product
and finally how these solutions address quality and timely delivery)
manufacturers’ actual pain points.

“ Digital twin” refers to the virtual representation of a physical product, service or
process, used to optimize the operation and maintenance of its physical counterpart
A complete mapping of the solutions needed to address the pain points is substantial and
complex. Accordingly, the mentioned actions and enablers are just some highlighted examples
It is not unusual to have scores of different vendors with separate IIoT platforms in an average factory environment
28 Methodology and glossary Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018


Forecast methodology Mobile broadband includes radio access people to share one subscription, for example
Ericsson makes forecasts on a regular basis technologies HSPA (3G), LTE (4G), 5G, via a family- or community-shared phone.
to support internal decisions and planning, CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and
as well as market communication. The Mobile WiMAX. WCDMA without HSPA Mobile data traffic
forecast time horizon in the Mobility Report and GPRS/EDGE are not included. Ericsson regularly performs traffic
is six years and is moved forward one year measurements in over 100 live networks
in the November report each year. The Rounding of figures covering all major regions of the world.
subscription and traffic forecast baseline As figures are rounded, summing up data These measurements form a representative
in this report uses historical data from may result in slight differences from the base for calculating worldwide total mobile
various sources, validated with Ericsson actual totals. In the key figures tables, traffic. More detailed measurements are
internal data, including measurements in subscriptions have been rounded to made in a selected number of commercial
customer networks. Future developments the nearest 10th of a million. However, WCDMA/HSPA and LTE networks with
are estimated based on macroeconomic when used in highlights in the articles, the purpose of understanding how mobile
trends, user trends, market maturity and subscriptions are usually expressed in full data traffic evolves. No subscriber data is
technological advances. Other sources billions or to one decimal place. Compound included in these measurements.
include industry analyst reports, together annual growth rate (CAGR) is calculated Traffic refers to aggregated traffic in
with internal assumptions and analyses. on the underlying, unrounded numbers mobile access networks and does not include
Historical data may be revised if the and is then rounded to the nearest full DVB-H, Wi-Fi or Mobile WiMAX traffic. VoIP
underlying data changes – for example, if percentage figure. Traffic volumes are is included in data traffic.
operators report updated subscription figures. expressed in two or three significant figures.
Population coverage
Mobile subscriptions Subscribers Population coverage is estimated using a
Mobile subscriptions include all mobile There is a large difference between the database of regional population and territory
technologies. Subscriptions are defined by numbers of subscriptions and subscribers. distribution, based on population density.
the most advanced technology that the This is because many subscribers have This is then combined with proprietary data
mobile phone and network are capable of. several subscriptions. Reasons for this could on the installed base of radio base stations
Our mobile subscriptions by technology include users lowering traffic costs by using (RBS), together with estimated coverage
findings divide subscriptions according to optimized subscriptions for different types per RBS for each of six population density
the highest-enabled technology they can be of calls, maximizing coverage and having categories (from metro to wilderness).
used for. LTE subscriptions, in most cases, also different subscriptions for mobile PCs/tablets Based on this, the portion of each area that
include the possibility for the subscription and mobile phones. In addition, it takes time is covered by a certain technology can be
to access 3G (WCDMA/HSPA) and 2G before inactive subscriptions are removed estimated, as well as the percentage of the
(GSM or CDMA in some markets) networks. from operator databases. Consequently, population it represents. By aggregating
A 5G subscription is counted as such when subscription penetration can be above these areas on a regional and global level,
associated with a device that supports 100 percent, which is the case in many world population coverage per technology
New Radio as specified in 3GPP Release 15, countries today. However, in some can be calculated.
and connected to a 5G-enabled network. developing regions, it is common for several
29 Methodology and glossary Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018


2G: 2nd generation mobile networks FDD: Frequency Division Duplex Mobile router: A device with a cellular
(GSM, CDMA 1x) network connection to the internet and
GB: Gigabyte, 109 bytes Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to one or
3G: 3rd generation mobile networks several clients (such as PCs or tablets)
(WCDMA/HSPA, TD-SCDMA, CDMA Gbps: Gigabits per second
EV-DO, Mobile WiMAX) NB-IoT: A 3GPP standardized low-power
GHz: Gigahertz, 109 hertz wide-area (LPWA) cellular technology for
3GPP: 3rd Generation Partnership Project (unit of frequency) IoT connectivity. NB-IoT is a narrowband
solution that can be deployed on LTE,
4G: 4th generation mobile networks GSA: Global mobile Suppliers Association or as a standalone solution, targeting
(LTE, LTE-A) ultra-low-throughput IoT applications
GSM: Global System for
4K: In video, a horizontal display resolution Mobile Communications NFV: Network Functions Virtualization
of approximately 4,000 pixels. A resolution of
3840 × 2160 (4K UHD) is used in television GSMA: GSM Association NR: New Radio as defined
and consumer media. In the movie projection by 3GPP Release 15
industry, 4096 × 2160 (DCI 4K) is dominant HSPA: High Speed Packet Access
OS: Operating System
5G: 5th generation mobile networks IMS: IP Multimedia Subsystem
(not yet standardized) PB: Petabyte, 1015 bytes
IoT: Internet of Things
App: A software application that Short-range IoT: Segment that largely
can be downloaded and run on Kbps: Kilobits per second consists of devices connected by unlicensed
a smartphone or tablet radio technologies, with a typical range of
LTE: Long-Term Evolution up to 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
AR: Augmented reality. An interactive and Zigbee. This category also includes
experience of a real-world environment MB: Megabyte, 106 bytes devices connected over fixed-line local area
whereby the objects that reside in the networks and powerline technologies
real world are “augmented” by MBB: Mobile broadband (defined
computer-generated perceptual information as CDMA2000 EV-DO, HSPA, LTE, Smartphone: Mobile phone with OS
Mobile WiMAX and TD-SCDMA) capable of downloading and running “apps”
CAGR: Compound annual growth rate e.g. iPhones, Android OS phones, Windows
Mbps: Megabits per second phones and also Symbian and Blackberry OS
Cat-M1: A 3GPP standardized low-power
wide-area (LPWA) cellular technology for IoT MHz: Megahertz, 106 hertz TD-SCDMA: Time Division-Synchronous
connectivity. Cat-M1 is a solution that can be (unit of frequency) Code Division Multiple Access
deployed on LTE, targeting a wide range of
IoT applications from simple to rich content MIMO: Multiple Input Multiple Output TDD: Time Division Duplex
is the use of multiple transmitters and
CDMA: Code Division Multiple Access receivers (multiple antennas) on wireless VoIP: Voice over IP (Internet Protocol)
devices for improved performance
dB: In radio transmission, a decibel is a VoLTE: Voice over LTE as defined by GSMA
logarithmic unit that can be used to sum mmWave: Millimeter waves are radio IR.92 specification. An end-to-end mobile
up total signal gains or losses from a frequency waves in the extremely high system including IP Multimedia Subsystem
transmitter to a receiver through the frequency range (30–300GHz) with (IMS), Evolved Packet Core (EPC), LTE RAN,
media a signal passes wavelengths between 10mm and 1mm. Subscriber Data Management and OSS/BSS
In a 5G context, millimeter waves refer to
EB: Exabyte, 1018 bytes frequencies between 24 and 71GHz (the WCDMA: Wideband Code
two frequency ranges 26GHz and 28GHz are Division Multiple Access
EDGE: Enhanced Data Rates included in millimeter range by convention)
for Global Evolution Wide-area IoT: Segment made up
Mobile PC: Defined as laptop or desktop of devices using cellular connections
EPC: Evolved Packet Core PC devices with built-in cellular modem or unlicensed low-power technologies
or external USB dongle like Sigfox and LoRa
30 Global and regional key figures Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Global and regional key figures

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Global key figures

Forecast CAGR**
Mobile subscriptions 2017 2018 2024 2018–2024 Unit
Worldwide mobile subscriptions 7,720 7,980 8,920 2% million
– Smartphone subscriptions 4,350 5,010 7,210 6% million
– Mobile PC, tablet and mobile
router subscriptions 250 260 330 4% million
– Mobile broadband subscriptions 5,250 5,930 8,420 6% million
– Mobile subscriptions, GSM/EDGE-only 2,410 2,000 470 -21% million
– Mobile subscriptions, WCDMA/HSPA 2,330 2,270 1,480 -7% million
– Mobile subscriptions, LTE 2,750 3,580 5,440 7% million
– Mobile subscriptions, 5G 1,500 million

Mobile data traffic*

– Data traffic per smartphone 3.4 5.6 21 24% GB/month
– Data traffic per mobile PC 9.8 12 30 17% GB/month
– Data traffic per tablet 4.6 5.8 14 16% GB/month

Total data traffic***

Total mobile data traffic 15 27 136 31% EB/month
– Smartphones 13 24 128 32% EB/month
– Mobile PCs and routers 1.7 2.1 5.2 17% EB/month
– Tablets 0.5 0.7 2.0 20% EB/month
Total fixed data traffic 80 100 280 18% EB/month

Fixed broadband connections 930 990 1,120 2% million

Regional key figures

Forecast CAGR**
Mobile subscriptions 2017 2018 2024 2018–2024 Unit
North America 390 400 460 2% million
Latin America 690 700 740 1% million
Western Europe 510 520 540 1% million
Central and Eastern Europe 580 580 590 0% million
North East Asia 1,800 1,960 2,060 1% million
China1 1,420 1,550 1,630 1% million
South East Asia and Oceania 1,120 1,160 1,290 2% million
India 1,200 1,200 1,420 3% million
Middle East and Africa 1,410 1,450 1,810 4% million
Sub-Saharan Africa2 680 710 940 5% million
* Active devices *** Figures are rounded (see methodology) and therefore summing up
** CAGR is calculated on unrounded figures of rounded data may result in slight differences from the actual total
31 Global and regional key figures Ericsson Mobility Report  |  November 2018

Forecast CAGR**
Smartphone subscriptions 2017 2018 2024 2018–2024 Unit
North America 320 330 390 3% million
Latin America 480 510 610 3% million
Western Europe 380 390 480 4% million
Central and Eastern Europe 310 340 540 8% million
North East Asia 1,310 1,550 1,900 3% million
China1 990 1,280 1,540 3% million
South East Asia and Oceania 600 680 1,030 7% million
India 420 560 1,000 10% million
Middle East and Africa 560 640 1,260 12% million
Sub-Saharan Africa2 280 340 690 13% million

Mobile broadband subscriptions

North America 380 390 460 3% million
Latin America 510 570 690 3% million
Western Europe 460 480 540 2% million
Central and Eastern Europe 400 450 590 5% million
North East Asia 1,610 1,820 2,050 2% million
China1 1,270 1,460 1,630 2% million
South East Asia and Oceania 740 860 1,290 7% million
India 440 510 1,180 15% million
Middle East and Africa 700 850 1,630 11% million
Sub-Saharan Africa2 340 410 820 12% million

LTE subscriptions
North America 300 350 190 -9% million
Latin America 210 290 550 11% million
Western Europe 240 290 370 4% million
Central and Eastern Europe 140 190 510 17% million
North East Asia 1,290 1,600 1,090 -6% million
China1 1,030 1,320 880 -6% million
South East Asia and Oceania 200 300 820 18% million
India 250 350 1,150 22% million
Middle East and Africa 130 200 770 25% million
Sub-Saharan Africa2 30 50 310 34% million

Data traffic per smartphone*

North America 6.6 8.6 50 34% GB/month
Latin America 2.4 3.4 18 32% GB/month
Western Europe 4.0 6.1 32 32% GB/month
Central and Eastern Europe 3.6 4.7 19 26% GB/month
North East Asia 3.0 7.3 21 19% GB/month
China1 2.7 7.2 19 18% GB/month
South East Asia and Oceania 2.7 3.8 19 31% GB/month
India 5.4 6.8 15 14% GB/month
Middle East and Africa 2.0 2.9 15 32% GB/month
Sub-Saharan Africa2 1.4 1.8 9.0 31% GB/month

Total mobile data traffic

North America 2.5 3.2 19 35% EB/month
Latin America 1.0 1.6 9.5 35% EB/month
Western Europe 1.8 2.6 14 33% EB/month
Central and Eastern Europe 1.1 1.5 9.2 35% EB/month
North East Asia 4.2 11 39 23% EB/month
China1 2.7 8.6 29 22% EB/month
South East Asia and Oceania 1.4 2.2 16 39% EB/month
India 1.8 3.0 12 26% EB/month
Middle East and Africa 1.1 1.8 17 45% EB/month
Sub-Saharan Africa2 0.36 0.54 5.2 46% EB/month
These figures are also included in the figures for North East Asia
These figures are also included in the figures for Middle East and Africa
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