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Mobile internet poised for 'vast growth'

Emerging markets, which represent the majority of the world's mobile users, is seen as an important factor

With more than 4 billion worldwide mobile subscribers, several analyst reports have predicted explosive growth for mobile internet in the next few years.

“The number of PCs in use worldwide has surpassed 1 billion and there are one and a half billion internet users globally. At the same time there are more than 4 billion mobile subscribers, indicating the vast growth potential for mobile internet…” a report by ReportLinker states.

“…58 percent of the world's installed PCs are in markets that account for only 15 percent of the world's population, meaning that for a majority of the potential users the handset is their main internet terminal.”

Growth is already evident as recent research by Nielsen Online states that mobile internet growth is believed to be eight times higher than PC-based internet growth.

The introduction of 3G services and other fast network technologies are seen as an important driver – by June 2008, there were more than 235 million WCDMA subscribers, representing a 6.4% penetration for all mobile subscribers.

Emerging markets, which make up the majority of the world’s mobile users, is also a key factor. The greatest interest in data services on mobile handsets is found in these markets, where infrastructure issues make portable phones a viable option, not just for communication but also entertainment, banking and others.

The China Internet Network Information Centre recently announced that its online population, the world’s largest, increased to 298 million with 117.6 million accessing the internet using their mobile phones. This figure was up 133% compared to 2007.

With an estimated 633.8 million mobile phone subscribers in China, the country’s mobile internet base is set to increase further when local operators start 3G services by 2011.