Forecast methodology

Ericsson makes forecasts on a regular basis to support internal decisions and planning, as well as market communication. The subscription and traffic forecast baseline in this report uses historical data from various sources, validated with Ericsson internal data, including extensive measurements in customer networks. Future development is estimated based on macroeconomic  trends, user trends (researched by Ericsson ConsumerLab), market maturity, technology development expectations  and documents – such as industry analyst reports – on national and regional levels, together with internal assumptions and analyses.

Historical data may be revised if the underlying data changes – for example, if operators report updated subscription figures.

Mobile subscriptions include all mobile technologies. Subscriptions are defined by the most advanced technology that the mobile phone and network are capable of. Figures are rounded and therefore summing up rounded data may result in slight differences from the actual totals. In the key figures tables, subscriptions have been rounded to the nearest 10th of a million. However, when used in highlights in the articles, subscriptions are usually expressed in full billions or to one decimal. Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is rounded to the nearest full percentage figure, and traffic volumes are expressed in two digits, for example, 69 GB/month or 8.5 GB/month.

Traffic refers to aggregated traffic in mobile access networks and does not include DVB-H, Wi-Fi or Mobile WiMAX traffic. VoIP is included in data traffic.

Traffic measurements

New devices and applications affect mobile networks. Having a deep and up-to-date knowledge of the traffic characteristics of different devices and applications is important when designing, testing and managing mobile networks. Ericsson regularly performs traffic measurements in over 100 live networks covering all major regions of the world. Detailed measurements are made in a selected number of commercial WCDMA/HSPA and LTE networks with the purpose of discovering different traffic patterns. All subscriber data is made anonymous before it reaches Ericsson’s analysts.

Population coverage methodology

Population coverage is estimated using a database of regional population and territory distribution based on population density. This is then combined with proprietary data on the installed base of Radio Base Stations (RBS) combined with estimated coverage per RBS for each of six population density categories (from metro to wilderness). Based on this, the portion of each area that is covered by a certain technology can be estimated, as well as the percentage of the population it represents. By aggregating these areas on a regional and global level, world population coverage per technology can be calculated.