Press releases

Deloitte predicts telecoms trends for 2016

13 January 2016

  • Second-hand smartphone market will be worth $17 billion worldwide
  • 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online globally in 2016
  • A quarter of smartphone users in developed markets will no longer make a traditional phone call in a given week

The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has today announced its predictions for the telecommunications sector in 2016. The news comes following the launch of Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2016, now in its sixteenth year.

Used smartphones: the $17 billion market you may never have heard of
According to Deloitte consumers will sell outright or trade-in approximately 120 million used smartphones around the world in 2016. This will generate a market of more than $17 billion (£11.7 billion), at an average value of $140 (£96) per device. 2016 will also see a marked increase from the 80 million smartphones traded in 2015 with a value of $11 billion (£7.5 billion), or an average value of $135 (£93).

In the UK market, the average price of a used handset increased from $30 in 2007 to $165 in 2013*. Some models may retain 70 percent of their value nine months after launch**.

Ed Marsden, partner and telecommunications lead at Deloitte, comments: “The second life of the smartphone is an increasingly important market in the mobile industry.

“There is an innate consumer desire to upgrade in order to have the most personal and useful devices. Savvy teenagers may urge their parents to upgrade their handset in the hope that they would in turn benefit from an upgraded hand-me-down. The growth of the second-hand smartphone market presents huge opportunities for the sector.”

Photo sharing: trillions and rising
Deloitte estimates that 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online globally in 2016, a 15 percent increase from last year. About three-quarters of this total will likely be shared, and the remainder backed-up online. The expected network impact of this will be about 3.5 exabytes (the equivalent of 3.5 billion Gigabytes), a 20 percent increase from 2015.

Paul Lee, partner and head of TMT research at Deloitte, comments: “Over 90 percent of these photos will be taken using a smartphone. Digital SLRs, compact cameras, tablets and laptops will collectively contribute the remainder.”

Other predictions include:

The rise of the data exclusive
According to Deloitte, in 2016, 26 percent of smartphone users in developed markets will not make any traditional phone calls in a given week, instead preferring to communicate using a combination of messaging, voice and video services delivered over the internet.

VoLTE / VoWiFi: capacity, reach and capability
2016 will see the emergence of Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE). By the end of the year, about 100 carriers worldwide will be offering at least one packet-based voice service. This is double the amount year-on-year, and six times higher than at the beginning of 2015. Approximately 300 million customers will be using VoWiFi and / or VoLTE by the end of 2016, five times higher than at the beginning of 2015.

The dawn of the Gigabit Internet age: every bit counts
According to Deloitte, the number of Gigabit per second (Gbit/s) Internet connections will rise to 10 million by the end of 2016, a tenfold increase from 2015. Of these, about 70 percent will be residential connections. However, this is only a small proportion of the 250 million customers on networks capable of Gbit/s connections that will exist by the end of 2016.

Marsden adds: “Evolving usage patterns and increasing demand for greater bandwidth may accelerate the supply of gigabit internet further. Video streaming in 4K resolution will be a key driver for improved data connectivity speeds in the coming years.

“Looking further ahead, we estimate that there will be approximately 600 million Gigabit tariff subscribers by 2020.”


Notes to editors

* The article states 20 GBP to 108 GBP, which is converted to USD at a 1.53 exchange rate. See Join in the great recycling gold rush,, 21 November 2014
** iPhone 6 resale value higher than previous models, analyst says, CNet, 24 June 2015

For a full copy of the report (launched on Wednesday, 13th January 2016) with all of the Deloitte predictions please visit

The 2016 series of TMT Predictions is the 15th edition of the report and has drawn on internal and external inputs from conversations with member firm clients, contributions from Deloitte member firms’ 7,000 partners and managers specialising in TMT, and discussions with industry analysts as well as interviews with leading executives from around the world and proprietary quantitative research.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

George Parrett
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0)20 7007 7285

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