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9bn mobile subscriptions expected by 2017, says Ericsson

Some 85 per cent of the world's population will have access to high-speed mobile internet by 2017, Ericsson has revealed in a new report. Nine billion mobile subscriptions are forecast for 2017, including three billion smartphone subscriptions.

"Today, 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", said Ericsson's vice president and head of strategy Douglas Gilstrap, accounting for the projected increases in mobile subscriptions and 3G and 4G/LTE connections.

"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. Today, around 75% of the HSPA networks worldwide have been upgraded to a peak speed of 7.2 Mbps or above and around 40% has been upgraded to 21 Mbps", Gilstrap added.

The report forecasts that the current mobile growth trend will continue, one which is being pushed by an increasing desire for access to everything everywhere.

Emerging markets like parts of Asia and Africa are leading the trend, the report confirms. In the first quarter of 2012, China alone added 39 million mobile subscriptions, with India next at 25 million. As a whole, the Asia Pacific region saw 93 million new mobile subscriptions in the first few months of 2012, and Africa recorded 30 million new connections.