Friday, April 21, 2006

Will the Mobile Phone become the Dominant Internet Platform?

APRIL 21, 2006

It could happen…

The personal computer remains the dominant platform for accessing the Internet around the world. However, in many countries Internet access via the mobile phone is actually outpacing wireless access from a notebook PC. After all, there is a massive installed base of mobile phones globally, and wireless networks are expanding every day.

According to A.T.Kearney, while in 2004 only 36% of mobile phone users browsed the Internet or downloaded e-mail, that figure rose to 56%. In Japan 92% of users went online via their mobiles.

In a study just released, "The Face of the Web," Ipsos Insight found that 28% of mobile phone owners worldwide had browsed the Internet on a wireless handset, up slightly from 25% at the end 2004.

Brian Cruikshank of Ipsos noted, "Accessing the Internet on a wireless handheld device is no longer a novelty for consumers in the major global economies. It's becoming a common, everyday occurrence for many people."

In fact, it was the Ipsos study that posited that mobile phones are poised to become the dominant Internet platform outside the home. "In the long term, many of today's PC-centric online activities could be complemented through the mobile phone or migrate to the mobile phone altogether, due to greater convenience and faster connection speeds," said Mr. Cruikshank. p>Mobile phone ownership is certainly on the rise around the world. The Ipsos survey showed ownership in major countries ranging from 61% of consumers in Canada to 95% in Japan.

Internet browsing via a wireless device is also growing in many global markets. France and the UK are exhibiting the strongest growth, while Internet usage via mobile phone in Japan also continues to grow rapidly. Today, four in 10 adults browse the Internet on their wireless handset in Japan, double the rate in 2003.

Over half (52%) of all mobile phone households today have sent or received a text message, and over a third (37%) have sent or received e-mail on a mobile phone. In general, almost all wireless device activities experienced growth in 2005 — including m-commerce, financial transactions, sending or receiving digital pictures and downloading entertainment.

Japan — followed by the UK, US and South Korea — leads the world in browsing the Internet via mobile phone for news and information.

All this activity aside, however, it should be noted that Ipsos found that the growth in Internet browsing on a mobile phone was flattening in some markets, specifically the US and Canada, where wireless Internet access via notebook PC appears to be emerging as the stronger out-of-home Internet platform.

If you need more information on this topic, eMarketer has recently published a number of reports on wireless trends and markets around the world, and you can browse them all by clicking here.



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