Japan and the advancing markets saw the largest year-on-year growth among adults who used the Internet via a wireless connection. However, wireless population growth was largely driven by the two biggest Internet markets, the U.S. and Japan, fuelling 69 percent of user increase and adding an estimated 15 million and 11.6 million new wireless Internet users, respectively. Wireless Internet also gained some popularity in Western Europe, South Korea and Urban China.
The latest findings ・based on interviews in 12 key global markets with 6,544 adults, including 3,304 active Internet users ・show that an estimated 171 million people, or 44 percent of Internet users in the measured markets, have accessed the Internet wirelessly.
Wireless Connections: Beyond the Laptop
Consequently, and challenging popular thinking, it isn?t the growth in laptop and Wi-Fi usage that is leading wireless Internet take-up. The number of adults who used a laptop for connecting to the Internet wirelessly was smaller compared to those who used a device like a mobile phone. In Japan, for instance, where wireless Internet, laptop, and mobile phone prevalence is highest, twice as many adults (59%) have accessed the Internet through a mobile device such as a mobile phone than have used a wireless laptop connection (28%). Similarly, outside of North America, Germany, and Urban Mexico, mobile devices like mobile phones are propelling wireless Internet use.
Proof of the trend toward data-driven applications via devices such as a mobile phone can be found in the kinds of features that mobile phones have. In the 12 markets analyzed, close to half of the mobile phone handsets have email or Internet browsing capability. Mobile phones have reached a turning point, evolving from primarily a voice communication device to a popular multimedia tool emphasizing data applications. Similarly, SMS may have been the growth vehicle for non-voice applications on a mobile phone in recent years.