Buoyed by expanding markets in India and China, global mobile subscriptions totalled around 6.3 billion last year, with subscriptions growing at about 9 per cent year-on-year, a report by European telecom equipment maker Ericsson said.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, total mobile subscription in China stood at 1.26 billion, while in India it was 713 million in 2012. The net additions in the fourth quarter of 2012 was 140 million.
"Global mobile penetration reached 89 per cent in Q4 2012 and mobile subscriptions now total around 6.3 billion.
However, the actual number of subscribers is around 4.4 billion, since many people have several subscriptions," the report said.
China accounted for about 22 per cent of net additions, adding around 30 million subscriptions, followed by India (11 million), Bangladesh (9 million), Indonesia (8 million), and Nigeria (5 million), it added.
"Mobile subscriptions have grown around nine per cent year-on-year and two per cent quarter-on-quarter.
"In Q4, mobile broadband subscriptions grew 125 million to 1.5 billion, reflecting a 50 per cent year-on-year increase," it said.
There is a continued strong momentum for smartphone uptake in all regions, it added.
"Approximately 40 per cent of all mobile phones sold during 2012 were smartphones, compared to around 30 per cent for the full year 2011. Only around 15-20 per cent of the worldwide installed base of mobile phone subscriptions uses smartphones," the report said.
GSM, GPRS and EDGE subscriptions grew 44 million and WCDMA and HSPA grew 70 million.
Together these technologies represent 80 per cent of total net additions.
That apart, LTE subscriptions grew from 14 million to 57 million in 2012.
The report expects mobile data subscriptions to increase.
"Mobile data subscriptions will grow strongly and drive the increase in data traffic, along with a continuous increase in the average data volumes per subscription," it said.