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It’s official: there are more active sim-cards than people on Earth

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There are more sim-cards than humans on earth.

According to a recent study by Ericsson, the total amount of sim-cards on earth has reached 7.8 billion, which is 103% of world’s population. 5.4 billion are unique users.


Mobile subscriptions grew around 2 percent year-on-year.

China had the greatest net addition during the quarter (+37 million), followed by South Africa (+2 million), the Philippines (+2 million), Myanmar (+2 million) and Pakistan (+2 million). – In the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India), the number of subscriptions declined by 37 million.

This was mainly due to the recent implementation of SIM card registration rules in Indonesia. – In India, the number of subscriptions has also declined by 37 million. This is likely due to the removal of inactive subscriptions following operator consolidation. –

The number of mobile broadband subscriptions grew by around 170 million in Q2 to reach around 5.5 billion. This reflects a year-on-year increase of around 15 percent. – LTE subscriptions increased by approximately 150 million to reach a total of around 3 billion, while WCDMA/HSPA subscriptions grew by around 40 million.

The majority of 3G/4G subscriptions can use GSM/EDGE as a fallback. GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions declined by 190 million during the quarter, and other technologies1 declined by around 13 million.

Around 345 million smartphones were sold in Q2, which equates to 85 percent of all mobile phones sold in the quarter.

Subscriptions associated with smartphones now account for 60 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions.

Traffic growth is driven by both the rising number of smartphone subscriptions and expanding average data volume per subscription, fueled primarily by more viewing of video content at increasingly higher resolutions. The graph below shows total global monthly data and voice traffic from Q2 2013 to Q2 2018, along with the year-on-year percentage change for mobile data. This curve illustrates a typical moderating growth rate as the market evolves over time. In Q2 2018, mobile data traffic grew by around 52 percent year-on-year and 9 percent quarter-on-quarter. There are large differences in traffic levels between markets, regions and operators.

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