Drivers of Mobile Internet Usage
Mobile apps accelerating mobile Internet use The survey identifies mobile apps as one of the primary drivers of mobile Internet use. As a gateway to the Internet, mobile apps are extremely convenient. Not surprisingly, the survey confirms that a higher proportion of those aged 14-29 years downloaded apps (76 percent in the 15-19 age group and 80 percent in the 20-29 age bracket) and music (71 percent in the 15-19 age group and 61 percent in the 20- 29 age bracket). A higher share of men download programs or apps (74 percent) as compared to women (68 percent). Mexico and South Africa again lead the pack with the most number of respondents downloading apps and music. A majority of the survey participants in Russia (66 percent) download ringtones.
Information apps are the most popular app download in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Russia. Entertainment apps are the most popular in Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Finland. More than half the mobile Internet users surveyed have downloaded or viewed short videos (of less than 5-minute duration), checked weather information, retrieved travel information or read the news on their mobiles. The survey’s findings, highlighting the explosive growth in consumer demand for communications, entertainment, commercial and social networking activities over the Internet will require significant and continued investment in infrastructure upgrades by communications service providers. Planning for this in a systematic way is critical to ensure adequate finance is available and needs to be done as part of an overall strategy which seeks to capitalize on the potential revenue opportunities available to providers through offering new and additional services through this medium.
The availability of different operating systems (OS) is also fuelling the growth of mobile Internet. When it comes to devices, 85 percent of the survey participants said that the OS was the most important factor in selecting a smartphone or tablet. This was the case with more 90 percent of the respondents from countries such as Brazil, South Africa and Mexico where there are heavy users of mobile phone apps. The OS is a crucial factor as consumers want easy access to services they consider important—such as communications, traffic and travel information, banking and access to social networks. The most preferred OS was Android (41 percent), followed by Microsoft Windows and iOS. In terms of geographic distribution, Android is the most preferred OS in most countries except in Switzerland, the UK and Ireland where the iOS is more popular and in South Africa where RIM is the most preferred OS.
Data concerns persist, especially over cloud services The consumer also wants a secure environment—70 percent of the mobile Internet users surveyed had concerns about the security of their data. These concerns ranged from losing personal data, hacking of personal data to viruses harming mobile devices in the case of 80 percent of those using or considering the use of cloud services. This finding highlights a significant opportunity for cloud service providers to work with network service providers to meet the data security needs of the digital consumer through adapted tariff plans and appropriate privacy policies. Additionally, companies across the communications, media and technology value chain will need to take note of a finding that reiterates the annoyance factor associated with online advertising. A higher share of the mobile Internet users—who most often come across ad banners and coupons on tablets and advertising through texting on smartphones—find these services annoying. This again brings to light the growing struggle of advertising and marketing companies in finding innovative ways of getting their messages across. Service providers and content developers will need to explore opportunities to collaborate with marketing and advertising companies to overcome this barrier