Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

Mobile Traffic, Connections, and Network Speeds—Oh My!

The latest Mobile Operator Industry report contains some interesting stats highlighting the explosive growth of the mobile Web.

  • February 27, 2013

The GSMA, which is a mobile operator industry group, released a beefy report this week on the state of the mobile economy that is nicely designed and, more importantly, chock-full of interesting tidbits.

Among the more salient stats:

Nearly half the world now uses cellphones–that’s 3.2 billion people–and the group expects another 700 million will be added over the coming years to bring this number past 4 billion in 2018. Not surprisingly, huge growth areas are expected to be in the Asia Pacific region, Africa, and Latin America.

There are many more mobile connections than cellphone users (lots of folks use more than one SIM): nearly seven billion in 2012. This is predicted to climb to nearly 10 billion in 2017.

While most mobile connections are currently over 2G networks (3G makes up a smaller piece of the pie and 4G just a sliver), in 2017, 2G networks will make up less than half while 3G and 4G rise to a combined 53 percent of the market. The group forecasts that, in 2017, one out of every five mobile broadband subscriptions will be for an LTE or other 4G high-speed network, up from one in 25 last year.

Mobile traffic in 2012 exceeded every other year combined, totaling 0.9 exabytes per month (each exabyte is equal to a billion gigabytes). In 2017, this is expected to climb to 11.2 exabytes per month.

Last year, revenue spent on the global “mobile ecosystem” totaled nearly $1.6 trillion–a figure expected to climb to nearly $2 trillion in 2017.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.