The growth will be led by an increase in emerging markets such as China with lower priced smartphones, the Ericsson Mobility Report noted.
Smartphones compose 25-30 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions, a number expected to rise to more than 60 percent. It took more than five years to hit the first billion subscriptions but it will take less than two years to hit two billion, the Stockholm-based company reported.
Ericsson noted that smart phone capability is now ranked among the top five satisfaction factors of life in a city, and that the rise in subscriptions is "phenomenal." The newest data comes after an initial June report that forecasted 4.5 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2018. The updated report incorporates a wider array of global trends.
Monday's release was accompanied by a traffic analysis tool to help track smartphone usage data. The report predicts a upward trend in video usage. It predicts video will amount to half of all mobile data traffic, and web and social networking will amount to 10 percent of traffic in 2019.
Telecom network providers will expand to meet data needs with greater 4G network coverage. Infrastructure growth in Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East will also help drive growth.
The news comes amid rising competition among smartphone distributors. Apple released Monday new plans for larger iPhone 6 screens with advanced technology, competing with Samsung and Android. Out of the nearly quarter of a billion smartphones shipped in the third quarter, Samsung sold 35.2 percent and Apple sold 13.4 percent.
Total Q3 smartphone sales were up 45 percent from the year prior, according to one market research firm. Fifty-five percent of all Q3 mobile phone sales were smartphones.