Ericsson study suggest IoT will overtake the mobile phone within two years but data demand from smartphone users will necessitate 5G
Internet of Things (IoT) devices will overtake the mobile phone as the largest category of connected device by 2021, but smartphones will still account for 90 percent of all traffic, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.
Over the next five years, the number of IoT devices is expected to grow by 23 percent and the moment they become more populous than the mobile phone is estimated to take place in 2018. By 2021, there will be 28 billion connected devices, of which 16 billion will be IoT.
European IoT adoption is set to be boosted by regulatory changes, such as proposals to install smart metres, and connected car legislation enacted by national governments and the EU.
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The study largely confirms other forecasts of rapidly rising demand for data, fuelled by new applications such as video streaming and greater adoption of smartphone subscriptions, which are set to surpass those of basic feature phones later this year.
The first 1Gbps 4G service is set to go live later this year, with more advanced versions of LTE, commonly marketed as 4G+ or 4.5G, set to be rolled out by operators.
This, Ericsson says, is evidence that the mobile industry must start devoting more attention to 5G networks, which will offer greater speed, capacity and energy efficiency than current generation infrastructure. It argues more spectrum harmonisation is necessary ahead of the anticipated launch of the first commercial 5G networks in 2020.
“IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge,” said Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer. “From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”
Separate research from Ovum suggests there are now more than one billion active LTE subscriptions worldwide, a figure which will rise to 3.62 billion by 2020.