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Mobile subscriptions Q1 2017

This issue of the Ericsson Mobility Report highlights that, globally, 107 million new mobile subscriptions were added in Q1, reaching a total of 7.6 billion.

Key findings

  • Mobile broadband subscriptions are growing by around 25% year-on-year
  • LTE continues to grow strongly – 250 million new subscriptions in Q1 2017 alone
  • There are 5.2 billion mobile subscribers globally
  • Globally, 107 million new mobile subscriptions were added in Q1

Mobile subscriptions are growing at around 4 percent year-on-year, reaching 7.6 billion in Q1. India grew the most in terms of net additions during the quarter (+43 million), followed by China (+24 million), Indonesia (+10 million), Pakistan (+5 million) and Nigeria (+3 million). The strong subscription growth in India was mainly due to an attractive LTE “welcome offer” by one operator, with free voice and data.

Mobile broadband subscriptions1 are growing by around 25 percent year-on-year, increasing by approximately 240 million in Q1 2017 alone. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions is now around 4.6 billion.

LTE subscriptions continue to grow strongly, with 250 million new subscriptions added during Q1 2017 to reach a total of around 2.1 billion. The net addition for WCDMA/HSPA was around 10 million subscriptions during the quarter.

LTE subscriptions reached a total of 2.1 billion in Q1 2017

The majority of 3G/4G subscriptions have access to GSM/EDGE as a fallback. During Q1 2017, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions declined by 110 million. Other technologies declined by 40 million.

Subscriptions associated with smartphones have surpassed those for basic phones. Of all subscriptions, 55 percent are now for smartphones and, in Q1, smartphones accounted for 80 percent of all mobile phones sold.

Graph: mobile subscriptions (millions)
Graph: new mobile subscriptions q3 2016

The number of mobile subscriptions exceeds the population in many countries, which is largely due to inactive subscriptions, multiple device ownership or optimization of subscriptions for different types of calls. As a result, the number of subscribers is lower than the number of subscriptions. Today, there are around 5.2 billion subscribers globally compared to 7.6 billion subscriptions.

5.2 billion subscribers
Graph: Subscription penetration

1 Mobile broadband includes radio access technologies HSPA (3G), LTE (4G), 5G, CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and Mobile WiMAX

Note: WCDMA without HSPA and GPRS/EDGE (2G) are not included