The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report says 90 per cent of the world's population over six years old would have a mobile phone by 2020. Furthermore, by 2020 smart phone subscriptions were projected to top 6.1 billion.
India and China experienced the fastest growth for new mobile subscriptions at 18 million and 12 million net additions, respectively, in Q3 2014.
The falling cost of handsets, coupled with improved usability and increasing network coverage were factors that were making mobile technology a global phenomenon that would soon be available to the vast majority of the world's population, regardless of age or location, according to Rima Qureshi, senior vice president, chief strategy officer and head of M&A, Ericsson.
The Ericsson Mobility Report showed that in 2020 the world would be connected like never before, she added.
Smart phone penetration was high with 800 million new subscriptions registered in 2014. Smart phone growth continued as 65-70 per cent of all phones sold in the third quarter of 2014 were smart phones, as against 55 per cent in the same quarter for 2013.
Despite this increased rate of sales, which would see the addition of an estimated 800 million new smart phone subscriptions by the end of 2014, the report revealed there was still plenty of room for growth in the sector. Smart phones currently accounted for just 37 per cent of all mobile phone subscriptions, meaning that many users had to still make the switch to the more feature-rich, internet-friendly option.
In India, mobile was becoming the first access point for internet for many, PTI quoted Ericsson India head Chris Houghton as saying.
This coupled with falling cost of handsets, increased data consumption; improved usability and increasing network coverage was driving growth of mobile subscriptions, the report added.
The report said around the world smart phone uptake had continued at a strong pace with the devices accounting for 65-70 per cent of all mobile phones sold in the third quarter of 2014, as against around 55 per cent during the corresponding period in 2013.
"Of all mobile phone subscriptions today, around 37 per cent are associated with smart phones, leaving considerable room for further uptake," the report added.
According to Ericsson mobile data user demographics were evolving fast in India, with mobile broadband starting to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban populations.