Mobiles to boost Internet connectivity in 2016
More than two billion people globally will use mobile devices to connect to the Internet in 2016, according to a recent report by market research firm IDC.
The firm notes that overall, an estimated 3.2 billion people (or 44% of the world's population) will have access to the Internet in 2016.
IDC says growth in Internet access is evident across the world, but some countries are seeing particularly rapid growth. China, India and Indonesia lead the way and will account for almost half of the gains in access globally over the course of the next five years, it adds.
The combination of lower-cost devices and inexpensive wireless networks are making accessibility easier in countries with populations that could not previously afford them.
The firm says the global mobile Internet user base is forecast to grow at 2% annually through 2020, unless significant new methods of Internet access are introduced.
Efforts by Google, SpaceX and Facebook, among others, to make the Internet available to the remaining four billion people via high altitude planes, balloons, and satellites are under way, it notes.
However, it remains unclear how successful these endeavours will be and when they will be operational at scale.
"Over the next five years, global growth in the number of people accessing the Internet exclusively through mobile devices will grow by more than 25% per year, while the amount of time we spend on them continues to grow. This change in the way we access the Internet is fuelling explosive growth in mobile commerce and mobile advertising," says Scott Strawn, programme director of Strategic Advisory Service at IDC.
The study found more than a billion people use the Internet to bank online, stream music and find a job.
More than two billion people use e-mail and read news online and more people than ever before are making purchases online, it adds.