Ericsson: IOT connections to surpass mobile by 2018


Launch of 5G and connected cars will drive growth, with Europe leading way

The number of Internet of Things (IOT) connections will rise by more than 23 per cent annually over the next five years to 16 billion – overtaking mobile for the first time.

According to Ericsson, by 2021 there will be around 28 billion connected devices on the planet, with 12 billion of those accounting for standard mobile SIM connections (including mobile broadband). Mobile currently accounts for around from 7.4 billion connections today – increasing by around three per cent yearly (63 million in Q1 this year).

In the firms annual Mobility Report, Ericsson said Europe was leading the way for IOT adoption, expecting numbers to rise 400 per cent by 2021. This will largely be driven by connected cars and intelligent utility meters.

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“IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge,” said Ericsson senior VP and chief strategy officer Rima Qureshi. “From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”


The report also forecasts the number of smartphone subscriptions (contracts), will almost double globally by 2021, from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion. It added there are currently five billion unique mobile subscribers across the planet, with smartphone sales to surpass those of “basic” feature phones for the first time by Q3 this year.

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This has been aided by increased adoption of 4G/LTE, which currently stands at around 1.2 billion. Numbers are expected to top 4.3 billion by 2021. Adoption of 5G, due to commercially launch in 2020, is expected to be greater than that of 4G, with numbers expected to top 150 million by the end of 2021. South Korea, Japan, China and the US are expected to have the fastest uptake.

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