Growth in mobile data traffic
The world's mobile telephony landscape has changed considerably since the advent of smartphones and their extremely rapid adoption by users.
In its latest report on mobility, published in November 2017, Ericsson indicated that in the third quarter of 2017, there were 7.8 billion mobile users worldwide, including 4.4 billion smartphones.
Though the evolution of sales of these smartphones seems to have slowed somewhat in 2017, with a fall in sales for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2017 (-5.6% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016), nonetheless 1.5 billion smartphones were sold throughout the world in 2017 according to the Gartner research company, a rise of 2.7% compared with 2016.
According to IDC, with a sales volume amounting to 1.46 billion units the market even registered a drop in sales of 0.5% over the whole of 2017. This represents the first year-on-year fall since the introduction of smartphones in 2007. Despite the contraction of the market in 2017, IDC expects a return to growth from 2018 onwards and an average annual growth rate in sales of smartphones of the order of 2.8% between 2017 and 2022, when the volume of sales will reach 1.68 billion units.
The widespread use of smartphones has led to major changes in the behaviour of users, who are tending more and more to exchange data, in particular videos, generating strong growth in data traffic on the mobile networks.
The growth in mobile data traffic in Switzerland was consequently substantial in 2017, as with preceding years. On Swisscom’s mobile network, for example, the volume of data transmitted increased by 55% compared to 2016.
At the global level, the volume of data exchanged on mobile networks increased by 65% in one year, between September 2016 and September 2017, mainly because of the increase in the number of data contracts and the increase in the volumes of data included in these contracts. According to Ericsson, video consumption already represented 55% of the volume of mobile data in 2017 and could reach almost 75% in 2023, growing almost 50% every year world-wide between 2017 and 2023.
Ericsson also noted strong growth in the number of high-speed mobile contracts, of the order of 9% in one year, reaching 5.2 billion units in September 2017.