INTERNET SOCIETY GLOBAL INTERNET REPORT 2015 MOBILE EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTERNET
AUTHOR’S NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
MOBILE INTERNET: TRENDS AND GROWTH
BENEFITS OF THE MOBILE INTERNET
CHALLENGES OF THE MOBILE INTERNET
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The Internet Society’s mission is the Internet for everyone. Today there are more than 3 billion people online, and mobile access to the Internet will be instrumental in bringing the next billion people online. Mobile phone service, which is now available to more than 90% of the global population, represented a significant leap-frog in countries where there was no fixed service before, and it was adopted at a breathtaking rate. Upgrading networks to offer mobile Internet is an incremental step that is being adopted even faster than mobile telephony before it. Accessing the mobile Internet is not just a matter of unplugging our laptops, however – we use smartphones and tablets with a range of features and sensors not available or needed in a traditional computer. These enable us to take and share videos; learn a trade and improve our livelihoods; help with our fitness and personal safety; and contribute to countless other activities. These new features are accessed through apps, not browsers, which is evolving how people use the Internet. I am pleased to launch this second annual Global Internet Report, which continues to provide integrated analysis and reporting, with a focus this year on the mobile Internet. The report explores mobile Internet availability, affordability, and relevance to potential users, and highlights opportunities as well as challenges to ensure all users can enjoy the full benefits of mobile access to the open Internet. I commend our Chief Economist, Michael Kende, for his vision and expertise in developing this report, and thank all the contributors who shared their time and insights. We hope that this Global Internet Report series continues to contribute to the progress of Internet development. Kathy Brown President and CEO
Global Internet Report 2015
Introduction We focus this year’s report on the mobile Internet for two reasons. First, as with mobile telephony, the mobile Internet does not just liberate us from the constraints of a wired connection, but it offers hundreds of millions around the world their only, or primary, means of accessing the Internet. Second, the mobile Internet does not just extend the reach of the Internet as used on fixed connections, but it offers new functionality in combination with new portable smart devices. The benefits of the mobile Internet should not come at the expense of the founding principles of the Internet that led to its success. The nature of the Internet should remain collaborative and inclusive, regardless of changing means of access. In particular, the mobile Internet should remain open, to enable the permission-less innovation that has driven the continuous growth and evolution of the Internet to date, including the emergence of the mobile Internet itself. Mobile voice technology was introduced in the 1980s and quickly upended traditional telephony around the world. Two major milestones of the last decade have multiplied the impact of mobile technology and shaped the mobile Internet of today.
The introduction of Internet access to traditional 2G mobile voice technologies in mid-2000, and then moving through 3G and now 4G technologies that are faster and have greater data capacity.
The introduction of smart devices starting with the iPhone in 2007, a new type of portable computer with a number of advanced