Not everyone accesses the Internet in the same manner. In mature markets, using desktop and laptop computers may be a common method of going online, and mobile devices act as a way for users to simply supplement their other surfing habits. But in developing nations, this often isn't the trend: Instead, it's more common for people to use smartphones to fulfill a variety of Internet-related needs, such as social networking, shopping and more. Because of this, it's critical for service providers in emerging markets to look invest in satellite solutions to provide the reliable mobile broadband their customers need.
A growing market
According to a new study by Ovum, though adoption rates for smartphones in emerging markets only totaled about 20 percent in 2012, this figure may grow to 50 percent in 2017, resulting in more than 2 billion gadgets in consumers' hands. The source noted that not only is this important news for device manufacturers, but it's critical for those in the business of providing connectivity to take notice as well. The research emphasized that there is a correlation between more people in developing regions purchasing smart devices and growth in mobile web use in these areas.
"The rising ownership of smart devices is not just giving some consumers access to the internet for the first time; the wide availability to these devices will also increasingly divert traffic to the mobile web," said Shiv Putcha, principal analyst at Ovum. "Operators and content providers now have an important role to play in helping the next billion transition from basic voice and SMS functionality, to their initial steps with mobile browsers and ultimately to smart experiences on the mobile Internet."
Putcha added that in their journey to meet the requirements of "the next billion consumers," mobile network operators will need to develop more effective and affordable pricing systems. The individuals who plan to adopt smartphones to gain access to the mobile web are very price-conscious, and large bills paired with tariffs could make potential users shy away. To this end, Putcha stated that it will be important for service providers to release a wide variety of simple-to-use packages, from unlimited plans to time-based systems.
The impending flood
But just how much is data traffic likely to be affected by the increasing demand for connected gadgets in young markets? India might provide one crucial example. Mobile Entertainment noted that in one recent study by InMobi, researchers discovered that Indian mobile web users spend approximately 2.25 hours each day consuming media on their portable devices, and this represents one-third of the total amount of time these individuals allocate to accessing media.
The research revealed second-screen use is growing as well in India, with 63 percent of smartphone owners using these technologies while watching television, up from just 26 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, 57 percent of respondents said they use social networking websites while viewing television programming. Additionally, 79 percent of Indian mobile web users expect to use mobile commerce resources within the next year.
Phalgun Raju, VP and GM for India and Southeast Asia at InMobi, pointed out that there are now more than 850 million active mobile connections in India, the source reported.
Obtaining the power
As consumers in developing nations embrace mobile broadband, mobile operators need to ready themselves for the future. Because data use is likely to explode to entirely new levels, they will need to choose particularly robust solutions that can not only reach anywhere in the world, but supply the capacity they need to ensure mobile web users don't experience slow connections or other disruptions. By using satellite solutions such as Intelsat's, these service providers will be able to seamlessly adjust to skyrocketing data traffic, supporting high-quality customer experiences that will drive stronger bottom lines.