Coming Soon: First-Graders with Cellphones

A new report forecasts that across the globe, 9 in 10 people older than 6 will have a mobile phone by 2020.

If predictions are correct, first-graders soon will be learning to text at the same time they’re being taught how to read. By 2020, it’s expected that 90 percent of the world’s population older than 6 will have a mobile phone.

That’s according to a new report from Swedish communications giant Ericsson. The fastest growth in new mobile subscriptions is occurring in India and China. In the third quarter of 2014, 18 million new people signed up for a mobile plan in India, and China gained 12 million new mobile users.

“The falling cost of handsets, coupled with improved usability and increasing network coverage, are factors that are making mobile technology a global phenomenon that will soon be available to the vast majority of the world’s population, regardless of age or location,” Rima Qureshi, senior vice president for Ericsson, said in a statement.

Nearly 800 million new subscriptions for smartphones will be added this year. But Ericsson said there’s still room for a lot more growth. Smartphone subscribers today total 2.7 billion. By 2020, Ericsson forecasts that number to have grown to 6.1 billion.

“Smartphones currently account for just 37 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions, meaning that many users have yet to make the switch to the more feature-rich, Internet-friendly option,” Ericsson said.

There was a 60 percent increase in mobile data traffic year-over-year from the third quarter of 2013 to 2014, but voice call traffic stayed the same, the report said.

“The networking company predicts that mobile video traffic will increase tenfold and constitute 55 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2020, followed by social networking apps at 15 percent, Web browsing at 5 percent, and audio at 2 percent,” said The Wall Street Journal.

What do you think of Ericsson’s prediction that 90 percent of the world’s population older than 6 will be mobile by 2020? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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