Connected devices to reach 50bn by 2020, claims GSMA

The number of connected devices is set to double over the next eight years to 50 billion globally, generating £2.9tn, says the GSMA

The number of connected devices is set to double over the next eight years to 50 billion globally, which could generate $4.5trn (£2.9trn) to the world economy.

But more spectrum will be crucial in achieving a more networked economy, supported by a sufficiently flexible regulatory environment in the telecoms sector and in other industries, said the trade body for mobile operators GSMA and Machina Research.

In many countries, the regulatory frameworks in healthcare and financial services, for example, will need to be adapted to facilitate greater use of connectivity.

Examples of a more connected network could include vehicles which travel more efficiently through a congested city avoiding traffic jams, while providing real-time movement information to help city authorities manage traffic incidents, said the report.

Networks provider Ericsson forecasts mobile data traffic will grow tenfold between 2011 and 2016. But even with new spectrum, mobile operators will need to be able to manage the fast-rising tide of traffic on their networks, both to deal with congestion and tailor delivery to specific service requirements, it warned.

If sufficient spectrum becomes available, mobile broadband could become almost ubiquitous within a decade. In the next four years the mobile industry will invest US$793bn in expanding the coverage and capabilities of mobile networks, said the body.

Global mobile broadband connections will grow from 1.3 billion at the end of 2011 to 3.2 billion by the end of 2015, encompassing a rise in LTE connections from 10 million to 353 million.

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