The percentage of users accessing the web from their mobile device has almost tripled in Asia since 2010 and in some countries mobile web traffic now accounts for nearly half of all browsing, according to new research from site monitoring firm Pingdom.
The firm analysed data from StatCounter to reveal that, from 2010 to May 2012, the mobile share of web traffic in Asia grew by over 192 per cent, from 6.1 per cent to 17.8 per cent.
This figure far outstripped that of North America, which stood at 8 per cent by 2012, and Europe, which reached 5.1 per cent.
Only Africa came close, reporting an increase of 155.6 per cent over the period to 14.9 per cent.
The UK was top in Europe with 10.7 per cent, reflecting the relative maturity of its mobile market, while the US came in at 8.6 per cent.
“It’s worth noting that Europe scored a 183.43 per cen increase in mobile browsing share over this period, not that far behind Asia,” said Pingdom in a blog post.
“But with the mobile share only increasing from 1.81 per cent to 5.13 per cent, Europe is still far behind both Africa and Asia when it comes to the percentage of users accessing the web using mobiles.”
The figures are often higher in developing countries such as India because many users there, especially in poorer, rural areas, simply don’t have any other option if they want to access the internet.
India in fact recorded the highest share of mobile traffic as a percentage of overall browsing at 48.9 per cent. The top ten was otherwise dominated by African nations, although Brunei (34.7 per cent) and Laos (35.5 per cent) also made the chart.
What service users are getting on their handsets in these countries, of course, is another matter.
Most users in India and China are encumbered with legacy 2G networks – this despite analyst IDC’s recent prediction that the People’s Republic will become the leading market worldwide for smartphone shipments by the end of the year, while India will leapfrog the UK by 2016.
While big name handset manufacturers are set to meet this huge demand by producing budget handsets in even greater quantities, mobile networks are a different matter entirely.
India’s operators are still squabbling over the terms of a controversial 2G license auction, while China’s users have failed to take to 3G there due to poor quality of service and 4G is still a couple of years away. ®