Study accounts for five billion mobile users by mid-2017

The GSMA's annual report on the 'Mobile Economy’ for 2017 predicts that five billion people around the world will be mobile users by mid-2017. Also, this number is expected to increase to 5.7 billion by the end of the decade.

The expected increase in those numbers for 2017 will be driven mainly by huge Asia markets, such as India. According to the report, India alone may add 310 million new unique subscribers by 2020. For reference, carriers already accounted for 4.8 billion unique mobile subscribers and 7.9 billion SIM connections by the end of last year. From those connections, 55 per cent were running on 3G or 4G mobile broadband networks.

Also, the impact of mobile networks on the increase of people connected to the internet is highlighted on the report. According to it, 3.6 billion people are now accessing the internet via mobile devices, a number expected to increase to 4.7 billion by 2020.

Finally, the report estimates that mobile technologies and services accounted for 4.4 per cent of the global GDP in 2016, or $3.3 trillion. This number must be taken with a grain of salt, though, because it includes not only "direct and indirect contribution from mobile operators (0.9%)" and "related industries e.g. device manufacturers and infrastructure vendors (0.5%)", but also unspecified "indirect contribution (0.6%)" and "productivity improvements (2.5%)". The full report can be seen here.

Source: GSMA via Phys.org | Mobile phone and antenna image via Shutterstock.

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