Ericsson has released a new report that predicts mobile phone subscriptions will increase to nine billion between now and 2017.

The majority of the uptake will be in Asia, however, subscription figures are expected to remain strong worldwide.

If they prove to be accurate, the predictions show there will soon be more mobile phone subscriptions than people on the face of the planet.

There is also expected to be a huge shift in how people use the internet, with the majority of people coming into contact with the technology through mobile handsets – as opposed to laptops or desktop PCs.

Of the nine billion subscriptions, three billion will pertain to smartphones and the popularity of internet-ready mobile gadgets will only increase as 3G coverage reaches 85 per cent and 4G covers half the globe.

The firm's report noted that for many people, mobile phones are the only means of accessing the internet.

Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy at Ericsson, said: "Today, people see access to the internet as a prerequisite for any device."

The figures may explain why Google has been so keen to snap up mobile phone patent holder Motorola.

Posted by Peter Robinson

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