Over the next 10 to 12 years Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg sees a networked society developing where everything that can benefit is connected to the network.
"Over the last 20 years we have deployed mobile and broadband networks across the world. Over the next 20 years, we'll use those networks in ways we never thought about -- that's where the 50 billion connections we've talked about comes into play.
“Some of the biggest challenges on Earth can be addressed with the networked society, things like health care, education and CO2 emissions."
He noted that it took the industry 100 years to reach a billion fixed lines and just 20 years to hit five billion mobile users.
With some 600 million mobile broadband connections now, he said analysts expect one billion mobile connections by the end of the year and five billion in just five years.
He pointed to projections showing data consumption will expand 25-fold after 2015, with video accounting for the majority of the increase in usage.
He claimed that of the data traffic created by the 500 million smartphones in use today, some 50% goes through Ericsson networks. He expects smartphone traffic to equal that of PC traffic by 2016.