Mobile subscriptions have increased by 800 million in 2014, bringing the total number of devices to 2.7 billion worldwide, according to a report by Ericsson.
With an increase in users, mobile data traffic is also expected to increase. Ericsson predicts mobile video will make up 55% of mobile data traffic by 2020.
Executive editor of the Ericsson Mobility Report Patrick Cerwall said the study shows 90% of the world's population over the age of six will have a mobile phone by 2020.
“So the report really talks about the connected world where everyone will have a connection one way or another,” he said.
Although a lot of new subscriptions are generated in developing countries, such as India and China, many of these are single users buying and using multiple devices at once, a trend that is growing as the user experience becomes more ubiquitous.
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Cerwall explained trends usually follow this pattern, moving from early adopters to mainstream markets and then emerging markets, and predicted as people perform more tasks, data usage will quadruple.
This increase in data usage will make advancements in technology such as 5G increasingly important, as more demand is put on mobile networks.
“We believe commercially available 5G networks and terminals will start to pick up around 2020,” said Cerwall. “If we are moving towards a networked society, 5G is all about embracing that.”
There has recently been an investment in the development of 5G networks, with Huawei planning to invest £5m in the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), alongside other supporters of the project.
During an event discussing the future of 5G, Conservative MP and former minister David Willetts predicted the UK could be a leader in the development of 5G networks if it is fast in implementing technology and standards.
“It’s far better if the industry can, early on, drive the standards for protocols that will properly protect privacy,” he said.