US mobile Internet usage to near 50% in 2013

Ronny Kerr · August 26, 2009 · Short URL:

Also in 2013, mobile usage in the United States will approach 100% penetration

If you haven’t noticed, mobile is kind of a big deal.

According to a whole slew of statistics released by market researcher and trends analyzer eMarketer yesterday, mobile phone usage is only continuing to grow, even stateside.

US Mobile Phone Subscribers In the U.S., where you’re pretty much expected to own some sort of mobile device, eMarketer marked that this year there are 280.8 million mobile phone subscribers, coming out to 91.4% penetration. The analysis expects to see that number increase steadily over the next few years, approaching complete market penetration in 2013, when it predicts 96.7% market penetration, or 308.7 million mobile phone subscribers.

At most, it’s surprising that we aren’t at 100% penetration already.

The real interesting analysis comes with the tracking of mobile Internet usage penetration. A great deal of tech industry press swirls around competition between the Internet-enabled big smartphone players: the classic BlackBerry, Apple and its chic iPhone, Google and its open standards Android OS, just to name a few.

But how many consumers are actually using their phones to connect to the Internet? According to eMarketer, still not that many.

US Mobile Internet Users and Penetration Despite its growth in recent years, due to falling costs and improving usability, mobile Internet is still a young technology only utilized by 73.7 million people, or 26.3% of mobile phone subscribers. Only in the past year has mobile Internet usage penetrated through to one in four mobile users. Costs should continue to drop steadily, usability will likely only get better, and usage will also rise, but slowly. Hitting 50% penetration is not too far off, according to eMarketer, which predicts 43.5% penetration in 2013, when about 134.3 million mobile subscribers should be going on the Internet through their phones.

The significance of these juxtaposed data sets is that it gives service providers some pretty straightforward priorities. Calling and texting will persist as the most essential tasks of any mobile phone, and they are the first two features that (most) consumers will expect to work painlessly. Thus, service providers will fight over who has the strongest call network, while at the same time building the foundations for more robust Internet speeds, in preparation for the rising tide of mobile Internet users.

As for future products, let's just say that BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android are only the beginning of innovation.

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