The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report , published earlier this month, reveals that the Internet of Things (IoT) will overtake mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices by 2018.

Mobile smartphone subscriptions continue to increase and are forecast to surpass those for basic phones in Q3 this year. The report estimates that by 2021, smartphone subscriptions will almost double, going from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion-but it is said the IoT will surpass that.

It’s said that Western Europe will lead the way in adding IoT connections, and that between 2015 and 2021, the number of IoT connected devices will grow 23 percent annually, of which cellular IoT is forecast to have the highest growth rate.

Of the 28 billion total devices that will be connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.

Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson, says: "IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today."

The Ericsson Mobility Report is one of the leading analyses of mobile data traffic available, providing in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe. The report uses these measurements and analysis, together with internal forecasts and other relevant studies, to provide insights into current traffic and market trends in the Networked Society.