Mobile Internet Users to Top 1.7 Billion by 2013

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

A new report from Juniper Research says that the number of subscribers using mobile Internet services will rise from 577 million currently to top 1.7 billion by 2013 spurred by demand for collaborative applications known collectively as 'web 2.0 ' and greater 2.5 3G penetration.

Putting that figure into some context, a report from Gartner earlier this week had said that the worldwide PC base would reach 2 billion by 2014 - so internet access by mobile phones will represent at around 50% of the total internet usage.

An Open Mobile Internet

According to a new report from Juniper Research, the emergence of applications such as: Social networking; User Generated Content (UGC); Instant Messaging (IM); Location Based Services (LBS); Search calls for delivery of the mobile Internet as it was originally conceived -- i.e. an open environment in which users are able to share, collaborate and exploit content/information without any one party controlling the value chain.

This marks a fundamental shift for the industry towards the D2C (direct-to consumer) model and places growing pressure on mobile network operators (MNOs) and handset manufacturers in particular, to relinquish some of their control over the value chain, by opening up their networks/devices to third-parties.

New Business Models

"Major web players have already crossed the Rubicon and established themselves in the mobile domain, placing the onus on MNOs and other members of the value chain to form innovative relationships and grab a share of the new revenue streams being created," comments Ian Chard, Juniper Research Analyst and author of the report 'Mobile Web 2.0: Leveraging Location, IM, Social Web & Search 2008-2013.'

"The mobile web 2.0 market is still nascent and business models remain in a state of flux, so there is still time for players to establish fruitful partnerships that build on their strengths and are reciprocally beneficial. The window of opportunity, however, is closing."

Other findings from the report

  • The Far East & China region will be the largest market for mobile web, reaching almost 416 million users by 2013, up from a year-end figure of 190 million users in 2008
  • The greatest untapped potential for mobile web lies in South America, while growth will be more measured in markets such as Eastern and Western Europe -- where fixed broadband penetration is relatively high
  • As with the fixed Internet, many mobile web 2.0 applications will need to be provided at base cost/flat-data rates (or even free of charge), forcing industry players to seek new revenue streams

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Tags: juniper research  social networking  gartner  location based services  mobile internet  mobile web 

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