9.1 billion mobile subscriber by the end of 2018
By the end of 2018, they are expected to reach 9.1 billion. Global mobile broadband subscriptions reached around 1.7 billion in Q1 2013, and are predicted to reach 7 billion in 2018. The majority of mobile broadband devices are, and will continue to be, smartphones.
Mobile subscriptions are increasing for PCs, mobile routers and tablets that use larger screen sizes. They are expected to grow from 300 million in 2012 to around 850 million in 2018, exceeding the number of fixed broadband subscriptions. Total smartphone subscriptions reached 1.2 billion at the end of 2012 and are expected to grow to 4.5 billion in 2018. Today the majority of mobile subscriptions are for basic phones. Smartphone penetration will increase rapidly, while it is estimated that subscriptions for basic phones will remain high, slowly declining from around 5 billion today, to around 4 billion in 2018.
Regional differences will be large. In 2018 almost all handsets in Western Europe and North America will be smartphones, compared to 40-50 percent of handset subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific regions.