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Number of mobile devices worldwide 2020-2024

The number of mobile devices operating worldwide is expected to reach 17.72 billion by 2024, an increase of 3.7 billion devices compared to 2020 levels.

Moving forward with 5G

As the number of devices grows, so does our dependence on them to fulfill daily functions and activities. The use cases for mobile devices increasingly demand faster connection speeds and lower latency. The 5G network will be critical to fulfilling those demands, operating at significantly faster rates than 4G. In North America, for example, it is expected that up to 40 percent of all connections will be made over the 5G standard, up from just four percent in 2020. Globally, this figure should reach 20.1 percent by 2025.

6G: looking beyond 5G

While 5G has entered commercialization and is already creating new opportunities, researchers and engineers are already experimenting with 6G. Not only will the number of mobile devices continue to grow but cellular internet-of-things (IoT) devices are set to permeate more industrial sectors in the coming years, meaning a solution will eventually be required for network congestion and data transfer speeds.

6G ought to be capable of solving those problems before they arise, potentially enabling a network connection density ten times greater than that of 5G, and peak data rates up to fifty times faster than the rate of 5G. The Federal Communications Commission in the United States has opened spectrum for experimentation, and China have already launched what is described as a 6G satellite, so that actual potential of 6G should be revealed over the coming decade.

Forecast number of mobile devices worldwide from 2020 to 2024 (in billions)*

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Forecast
Includes phones and tablets.

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