There's been a few posts over the last few days about the continuing rapid adoption and diffusion of mobile media. A new report by Strategy Analytics showed that China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest manufactuter of smartphones, while the consumer market for those devices grew worldwide by 12.8%. That growth was despite continued slowing in market demand in the U.S. and Europe, but increased demand in China, Japan, and Asia generally.
According to ABI Research projections, that demand contributes to the expectati0on that mobile subscriptions will reach 6 billion by the end of this year. For comparison, the estimated world population is 7 billion. Nearly 1 billion mobile connections have been added in Asia over the last two years.
Another study by Informa Telecoms & Media indicates that mobile penetration in the Middle East will exceed 250 million in 2012, giving the region a higher penetration rate that seen in North America. At that point, there will be more mobile phone subscriptions in the Middle East than there are people.
Still, the broader social and economic impact of mobile is tied to the growth of mobile broadband and data services. Here, Asia (outside of Japan and Korea, anyway) has lagged somewhat. Less than 18% of Asia mobile connections are at 3G or 4G speeds. In China, about 10% of mobile subscriptions are 3G-enabled (that's still 100 million). India is pushing deployment of 3G and 4G networks, and that country's largest mobile company attracted 3 million 3g subscriptions in its first 6 months. Matthew Reed, head of mobile research for Informa, said, “The impact of competition, the availability of new data-based services, increasing affordability and population growth will all contribute to the continued rise in mobile subscription numbers in the Middle East in the coming few years,” On the other hand, implementation of 3G and 4G in the region remains sporadic and slow.
In Africa, where less than ten percent of the population has access to a bank account, mobile penetration rates topping 60% have prompted development of mobile money services such as Orange Money. First introduced in 2008, Orange Money operates in partnership with banks to offer a range of financial services, including money transfers, bill payment, and other financial services. They've recently partnered with Western Union to add global funds transferring.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the IBM Smarter Commerce benchmarking study indicated that almost 15% of all online shopping traffic on last week's "Black Friday" shopping frenzy came from mobile devices, almost tripling last year's level. In terms of actual digital retail transactions, almost 10% came through mobile, more than triple last year's level. And those were just the shifts in sources among the overall 24.3% increase in online shopping traffic from last year's levels.
So globally, mobile and mobile broadband is doing well, and is likely to continue to expand as higher speed (3G, 4G, LTE) networks are built out.and new data and information services are added.
Source - Mobile Explodes: Connections to Reach 6 Billion This Year, Online Media Daily
Middle East mobile penetration exceeds that of USA, telecoms.com
Mobile Money Services a Big Hit in Africa, telecoms.com
editted - added info from new source
Source - Mobile Drives 14.3% of Black Friday Online Traffic, 9.8% of Sales, Online Media Daily