The amount of data traffic over mobile networks reached around 2,000 petabytes in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 70 per cent year-on-year and 15 per cent more than in the third quarter, according to Ericsson's latest Mobility Report on market statistics.
Based on its own monitoring of a representative sample of mobile networks worldwide, Ericsson's report shows voice traffic growing little, despite a steady increase in mobile subscribers.
Ericsson estimates there were 6.7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2013, an increase of 109 million or 1.5 per cent compared to the end of the third quarter. "Year-on-year, the global base grew by six per cent, taking mobile penetration to 92 per cent of the world's population," it said, adding that the actual number of mobile users is smaller, at an estimated 4.5 billion, due to many people having more than one mobile Sim.
China and India each accounted for around 20 per cent of subscriber additions in fourth quarter, with the rest of Asia representing another 20 per cent. The US also remained in the top five growth markets, with around five million subscribers added. Penetration is still at less than 100 per cent in China (90 per cent), Africa (72 per cent) and India (59 per cent).
Mobile broadband subscribers grew even faster in the fourth quarter of 2013 increasing by around 40 per cent year-on-year to 2.1 billion at year-end.LTE subscribers passed the milestone of 200 million by the end of 2013, it added. Despite over one billion smartphones sold last year, Ericsson estimates that only 30 per cent of mobile subscribers have the data devices, leaving considerable room for further uptake.