Defining The Mobile Internet

When you hear the news that states that ‘this many’ people use the Internet from their mobile phones, you are likely thinking about something other than just email access, right? After all, there games, news and a whole ton of other stuff.

Well unfortunately, the statistics as we tend to hear them are often infected by mixed results. Check it out.

It appears the mobile Internet may mean different things to different people, and that creates plenty of confusion when people are trying to compare situations. Does mobile Internet usage refer to messaging platforms such as MMS or SMS? Does it apply to browsing WAP-based portals? Or is it only for accessing the full web using a browser on a smartphone? Also, does the mobile Internet need to be accessed with a mobile phone? While PDAs are increasingly morphing into mobile phones, what about someone using a laptop with a datacard? Or a laptop at a hotspot? Then comes the fuzzy question about a person using a desktop at an Internet cafe or library. That’s sort of mobile. It’s clearly the Internet.

Unfortunately, in talking about these things, the data isn’t always made clear. In an article earlier today on TheFeature, we referenced a report saying that GPRS-enabled handsets were spreading rapidly. However, the BBC article about the report claimed that “Half of UK’s mobiles ‘go online'”. Reading that, it sounds like half of all mobile users access mobile Internet services — but doesn’t indicate what definition of mobile Internet is being used. Reading the details, you realize the report is just talking about Internet-enabled mobile phones, which is quite a different story.