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July 8, 2015

Mobile holds key to bring next billion people online

Policymakers are urged to focus on filling the gap between availability and adoption of mobile Internet.

By CBR Staff Writer

A new report has revealed that even though more than 3 billion people across the world are currently online, it is mobile internet which is key in bringing Internet connectivity to the next billion people.

Although mobile has transformed Internet access and use, challenges remain to remove barriers to global Internet access as ‘affordability’ and ‘relevant content’ surpass ‘availability’.

The report revealed that 94% of the world’s population is covered by a mobile network, while 48% are covered by mobile broadband and 28% subscribe to mobile Internet services.

More than 80% of online time is being spent by mobile users utilising apps and not a browser, according to the report.

Users spend over 50% of overall online time using mobile apps, even with the addition of desktop browsing.

Policymakers have been urged to focus on filling the gap between availability and adoption of mobile Internet by making the services more affordable by removing taxes on equipment, devices, and services, and removing regulatory barriers for operators.

Governments are required to make sure an adequate allocation of spectrum for mobile Internet is given due to increasing demand.

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Internet Society’s 2015 Global Internet Report notes that the majority of countries see a significant number of people who do not subscribe to Internet services due to its cost.

In several countries, the cost of mobile Internet service can amount to over 5-10% of a person’s annual income.

Internet Society chief economist and author of the report Michael Kende said: "Today we associate the mobile Internet with a smart device that runs on a specific platform and provides access to the apps that we use.

"While this has created amazing benefits for users and an entire app economy for developers, it locks users into a chosen platform and ultimately limits choices in a way that is new to the Internet."

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