By Edd K. Usman
Around 90 million smartphones are expected to be in the hands of Filipinos by 2021, double that of the 2015 figure at nearly 40 million, data from Ericsson Mobility Report for 2016 showed.
Two years from now, Ericsson’s research study also forecast smartphone subscriptions in the Philippines to surpass the subscriptions for basic mobile phones. The report also forecast the rise of LTE (Long Term Evolution) subscriptions at 70 percent in 2021 in the country.
Meanwhile, the average data traffic on mobile between March 2016 and March 2015 grew close to 30 percent.
Ericsson credited the strong rise in smartphone subscriptions and data growth as the driving force behind the telecommunications industry.
Sean Gowran, president and country manager of Ericsson Philippines and the Pacific Islands, noted the “huge growth in mobile phone penetration” among Filipinos.
In global terms, Gowran said the world now has five billion users of mobile phones. Estimates as seen on the internet put the total world population at around 7.4 billion people.
In the first quarter alone of 2016, global mobile phone subscriptions registered around 63 million, with India atop the list.
Highlights of the report concerning the Philippines pointed to a strong growth of smartphone subscriptions and traffic data. Among others, the report expects mobile subscription penetration to climb near 130 percent by 2021 and surpass 2015’s rate of 115-percent increase.
Philippine highlights covered by the mobility report includes “tremendous” growth in smartphone and mobile broadband (MBB) subscription penetration, which was 50 percent in 2015, and expected to spike to 120 percent by 2021.
Gowran attributed this to various factors. “Aside from increasing affordability of smartphones and improvements in broadband coverage that our operators are working on, we think the youth segment of the market is one of the key drivers to mobile broadband growth as they are more likely to be viewing online videos, using social networking and instant messaging apps on a daily basis,” he said.
In the Philippines, he added, the most popular apps that the youth use everyday are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Youtube, and apps for browsing such as Google Chrome and Google. He said that “two out of 10 Filipino smartphone users” visit social networking sites, utilize instant messaging, and watch online videos daily.
The youth sector in the Philippines, as compared to their adult counterparts, is more likely everyday to be logging on to social networking, instant messaging, and online videos. Thus, the country’s youth is an interesting target to focus on, he said.