Our regular readers knew to expect this, as I told you a year ago we were about to cross the threshold. We found some analysts coming with the calculations last year that could be interpreted that we had reached the point, but now the first major source says the point has passed. Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said at CES this week that today the majority of internet services are accessed on mobile phones globally, not from PCs. He was quoted in Broadband Finder.
Several important points. First, that recently, past few years, especially after the Apple iPhone came along, it has become 'mantra' and many have joined in believing in this trend, that it is inevitable that soon the majority of internet access will be from mobile phones. As we've reported here, in many Emerging World countries form Bangladesh to South Africa the ratio is more than 4 to 1 and as much as 10 to 1 where more mobile users access internet services (including WAP services) on their phones than on PCs. Even many advanced countries like Japan and Taiwan report the same milestone having passed. Now Nokia says the global milestone has passed.
Secondly, before the iPhone appeared, there were many telecoms companies who thought this would happen such as Ericsson, Nokia, Nortel, Lucent, Alcatel, Siemens, Motorola etc. That was to be expected. The more astonishing company to say so four years ago, was the world's biggest internet company, Google, who started to preach the mobile mantra around mid-2005. They have since said everywhere, that the internet was headed to mobile. It is there today.
And who was the first author to tell you that? It was me in my 2002 book M-Profits, and I have repeated the position in every one of my books since, to reinforce the position and to remind my readers that this is something I believed in passionately. Nice to see its now happened.
One more thing - remember, that the way Nokia calculated it, is the definition of 'access to internet services' which could be said to be the definition of the 'mobile internet' as distinct from using a phone to access the 'real internet'. On for example an iPhone, you tend to access the real internet. On WAP phones you access a more limited service called the 'mobile internet'. But any major internet service like Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, YouTube, MySpace etc - will be available on WAP as well as many 'email' solutions which are not 'the real internet' like say Nokia's Ovi based email or Blackberry's email - but these access the same 'internet email' that we all use. So it is this 'broad' definition of the 'mobile internet' which now gives us this milestone. It will also eventually happen that the users of the 'real internet' will exceed PC based internet access, but that won't happen still for several years.
And in case you have been under the illusion that the 'mobile internet' is somehow 'inferior' to the 'real internet' - that is a dangerous illusion indeed. You should read this blog explaining why the two are as different as TV is from radio. And yes as I explain in my latest hardcover book, the 'mobile internet' as the 7th mass medium, is indeed the TV in that analogy, and the old-fashioned 'legacy' internet on PCs, what you may call the 'real internet' as the 6th mass medium is not only different, but it is the lesser opportunity, like radio is to TV. This view, originally seen as very much heresy, is now accepted ever more widely, so you may want to read why the mobile internet is not only different, but economically far more lucrative than the 'real' internet.
For any of our readers who want to understand mobile internet definitions and user numbers by the various definitions, please send me an email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com and I will send you a 2 page 'Thought Piece' on Mobile Internet and Mobile Data, by return email.