Mobile phone traffic will grow by a factor of 50 as the mobile phone industry attracts three billion new mobile broadband subscribers and delivers billions of new content-rich applications, says Hans Vestberg CEO of mobile phone maker Ericsson.
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Vestberg told delegates at the Mobile World Congress that the industry's future success depended on applications and sorting out problems, rather than technology.
He said the past decade had seen the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide grow sixfold to 4.6 billion. "Mobile broadband has had its breakthrough and we believe that we will see three billion new mobile broadband subscriptions in the next five years," he said.
Vestberg forecast that by 2015 mobile PC subscriptions will have grown by six times and the traffic generated would be more than 50 times higher than at the end of 2009. He said the number of smartphone devices would grow fourfold and the traffic they generate would grow by more than 25 times.
This put a premium on network capacity and quality, he said.
"We envision 50 billion connected devices by 2020," he said. Vestberg said patients would be connected remotely to hospitals, trucks would be online with logistics centres for efficient routing, and city students would be connected to students in rural villages halfway around the world.
"Several operators have already established machine-to-machine departments to meet these demands," he said.
This had required a change in technology from traditional telecoms to Internet Protocol, from hardware to software and from network roll outs to network evolution, he said.
"HSPA and 4G/LTE will enable the 50 billion connected devices and the continued traffic growth," Vestberg said.
Ericsson also announced the launch of eStore, a pre-packaged market place for applications and content where network operators can set-up their own application store for mobile customers.
Ericsson teamed up with browser maker Opera Software to provide the client framework for widgets and applications across multiple channels and devices.
The eStore already has more than 30,000 applications downloadable to any smartphone. Some are free and others can be paid via a prepaid contract or the monthly phone bill.
Vestberg said, "As the industry again moves into new territories, our role as a vendor must shift from just being a technology and services supplier to being a business enabler. Operators are looking to us to manage the increasing complexity of their networks so they can concentrate on enhancing the user experience."