Data: The Future of the Internet Looks Highly Mobile

With every day that passes we become more convinced that the Internet in our hands aka on our mobile devices is going to define network usage and innovation. According to some estimates, the consumption of data on mobiles will near an exabyte by the end of 2009.

In less than four years almost three-quarters of the population will have access to mobile broadband, according to data released today by analyst firm Telegeography. The firm predicts that by the end of 2013 the addressable market for 3G and 4G cellular services will have grown to over 4.5 billion potential subscribers — or about 71 percent of all wireless subscribers.

And as I’ve noted, the mobile Internet platform is a greenfield opportunity for innovators. We plan to discuss many of those opportunities at our Mobilize 09 conference on Sept. 10 in San Francisco. (related research from GigaOM Pro: Will Google Lead the Way in Mobile App Innovation?.)

While we’re eagerly awaiting the next generation of 4G wireless services in the U.S., it can be hard to remember that China is just rolling out its 3G networks. But given the huge jump in data speeds offered by a 3G network when compared to a 2G network, as mobile broadband catches on, web access and computing becomes ever more mobile and ever more accessible.


The key issue will be getting people to sign up. As part of the same research, Telegeography expects only 28 percent of subscribers to actually connect to the faster services by 2013. TeleGeography’s Executive Director John Dinsdale says that the actual “take-up rates for 3G/4G services in 2013 will range from 25% of potential subscribers in Africa to 62% in Western Europe.”