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One in five data connections will be 4G by 2017

26 Feb 2013
Searching on a smartphone while on-the-go

One in five global mobile broadband subscribers will use 4G/LTE connections by 2017, according to a report by mobile operator trade body the GSMA.

GSMA said that mobile data used will grow 66 percent over the next five years, with 920 million 4G/LTE subscribers by 2017. The increase in usage will also come with a jump in data connections. GMSA's report finds that mobile broadband connections will increase by 26 percent over the next five years.

"Mobile is a vibrant and evolving industry at the heart of everyday life for billions of people around the world," said GSMA general director Anne Bouverot.

"Mobile has gone beyond being a mere communications tool to one that provides life-enhancing, and in some cases life-saving, services to men, women and children. It's exciting to look at the possibilities ahead of us as we connect the world's population to the mobile internet."


According to the report, over five billion mobile broadband connections will exist by 2017. The figure would represent a jump from the over one billion mobile data connections which were recorded last year.

One in 25 mobile broadband subscribers currently uses a 4G/LTE connection. According to GSMA, 62 million mobile data subscribers are currently working on 4G/LTE speeds. 

According to the GSMA, the increase in connection speeds will come with an increase in data usage. It said that 11.2 exabytes of data will be used globally within each month by 2017. Last year only 0.9 exabytes were used a month, according to the study.

Much of that data is currently being used on social networking platforms, with the report noting users spend 17 minutes a day checking social networking platforms on a smartphone.

GSMA's report comes during the start of the Mobile World Conference (MWC). The firm organised the event this year in Barcelona, Spain.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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