A report released Monday by communications technology company Ericsson says while 55 percent of all handsets sold worldwide in the last quarter were smartphones, they still represent just 25 percent to 30 percent of all active mobile phone subscriptions.
Mobile subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion by 2019, and 5.6 billion of them will be for smartphones, the report predicted.
"The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue," said Douglas Gilstrap, senior vice president and head of strategy at Ericsson. "It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the 2 billion mark."
As smartphones become more affordable, numbers will rise in some unexpected places, he said.
"Interestingly, this trend will be driven by uptake in China and other emerging markets as lower-priced smartphone models become available," he said.
To meet smartphone data needs, almost two-thirds of the world's population will be covered by high-speed 4G/LTE networks by 2019, the Ericsson report said.