Mobile data traffic

Growth in mobile data traffic

Global mobile data and voice traffic


According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report of November 2018, in the third quarter of 2018 there were 7.9 billion mobile connections worldwide (up 3% on the previous year). Sixty percent of all mobile telephones are now smartphones. At the end of 2018, some 5 billion smartphones were in use worldwide. By 2024 the figure is expected to be 7.2 billion, even though the growth in sales of such smart devices slowed down somewhat in 2018.

Although sales figures followed a steep upward trend for several years, a drop in smartphone sales was expected in 2018, for the second year in succession. According to the latest December 2018 figures from International Data Corporation (IDC), in the year under review 1.42 billion smartphones still left the shelves worldwide. This is 3% less than in 2017 (1.47 billion). For 2019 and the following years, IDC nevertheless expects renewed growth. On the basis of the latest models launched by manufacturers since autumn 2018, highly-priced devices and in particular those with larger screens are expected to boost sales.

In Switzerland, the proportion of smartphones has also been very high for some years. According to the Global Mobile Consumer Survey published by Deloitte in 2018, 92% of all adults in Switzerland own at least one smartphone.

According to the latest edition of the JAMES study, which was published in November 2018 by Zurich's University of Applied Sciences and Swisscom, the proliferation of smartphones is also very pronounced among young people: 99% of young people between 12 and 19 years of age own a mobile telephone (almost always a smartphone), three quarters of them with a flat-rate contract. Young people are spending more and more time surfing the internet on their mobiles or making contact on social networks. But above all young people like to listen to music or watch videos using video or music streaming platforms such as Netflix or Spotify.

The proliferation of smartphones has radically changed not only our ways of communicating but also our everyday lives. Users are online virtually round the clock and are consuming more and more data, especially in the form of videos. This is leading to an enormous increase in data traffic on the mobile networks.
Because of this development, data traffic on mobile networks increased in Switzerland in 2018 as with previous years. On Swisscom's network, for example, it increased by nearly 30% in comparison with 2017. According to Sunrise's own figures, it is seeing a doubling of data traffic every 16 months.

According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, updated in February 2019, data traffic on mobile networks worldwide increased by 88% between the end of 2017 and the end of 2018. This is the highest increase since mid-2013, when an increase of 89% was recorded. However, if one compares the actual volume of data, it is clear that the 2018 increase was 15 times greater than that observed in 2013. The reason for this is on the one hand the increasing number of data contracts associated with smartphones and on the other hand the increase in the volume of data included in these contracts, due mainly to the increasing transmission of video content. According to Ericsson, the share of video in 2018 already accounted for 60% of mobile data traffic and could rise to almost 74% by 2024. This would correspond to a worldwide increase of almost 35% per annum between 2018 and 2024.
Moreover, according to Ericsson, the number of broadband mobile contracts increased by approximately 15% in one year and reached 5.7 billion in September 2018. This figure includes approximately 3.3 billion LTE contracts. At the end of 2018 LTE was the most common mobile telephony technology.

Last modification 13.06.2019

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