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For many people around the world, the mobile phone will be the only means of accessing the Internet. According to Ericsson's Traffic and Market Report - On the Pulse of the Networked Society, 85% of the world's population will have Internet coverage via 3G by 2017.And, there will be close to nine billion mobile subscriptions.


Machine-to-machine subscriptions will add to this figure. Mobile broadband subscriptions, meanwhile, are forecast to reach five billion in 2017, compared to one billion by the end of 2011. Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of Strategy at Ericsson, says people see access to the Internet as a prerequisite for any device.This mindset results in growing demand for mobile broadband and increased data traffic.


“Operators recognize this business opportunity and are aiming to facilitate this growth and provide good user experience with fast data speeds through high capacity networks,” says Gilstrap. Today, approximately 75% of the HSPA networks worldwide have been upgraded to a peak speed of 7.2 Mbps or above and 40% has been upgraded to 21 Mbps. 


Ericsson also predicts by 2017 half of the world's population will be covered by LTE/4G networks. Smartphone subscriptions will number three billion in 2017 - compared to 700 million in 2011. Total mobile data traffic continues to increase - between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 data traffic doubled - and the prime driver is video. Smartphones are also, and will remain, a key data traffic driver. 


The mobile data traffic will grow by 15 times between 2011 and 2017. The data also shows variations between countries and regions. In the case of mobile net additions, China added the most subscriptions for a single country in Q1 2012 with 39 million, followed by India with 25 million.The Asia Pacific region added in total 93 million subscriptions, followed by Africa with 30 million.

The continuous trend is due to fact that everything is going mobile. This evolution is mainly being driven by people's increasing demand for anywhere, anytime connectivity and the use of video, cloud-based services and the Internet - but also by machine-to-machine connectivity.  


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