Indians hooked to charm of mobile Web

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  • Published 6.06.07

New Delhi, June 6: One in every 11 people logging on to the Internet through their mobile handsets is an Indian.

The number of people accessing the Net through their cellular phones has more than doubled in the last one year — making Indians the fourth-largest population browsing the Web through mobile handsets, said a survey conducted by UK-based Bango Plc. Mobile phones are fast evolving into a medium for searching the cyberspace for information.

“Affordability is at the crux of this trend. With GPRS-enabled phones available for as low as Rs 3,000 (computers are priced at Rs 20,000 and above), Indians are taking to browsing through phones,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, national president of the Indian Cellular Association.

Nokia officials said GPRS-enabled phones are becoming cheaper, leading to higher purchase and use of this service.

“Ease of use and ease of access is prompting more and more users to browse the Web through their mobile phones,” said Ashish Kaistha, sales manager — India, BlackBerry.

According to data compiled by UK-based Bango Plc, which tracks users from over 190 countries accessing the mobile Web, the service is used the most in the UK. The US and South Africa rank second and third, respectively.

Of all the users logging onto the Web through handsets, 27 per cent come from the UK and 21 per cent are from the US. South Africans accounted for about 11 per cent of mobile Web users at the end of April this year, the survey said. Although Indians account for just 9 per cent of all users, the number has grown considerably from 4 per cent a year ago.

“India, with a population of over 1.1 billion and lacking an established fixed phone line network, relies on mobile phones to stay in touch,” said Bango CEO Ray Anderson.

Bango said it expects mobile phone usage in India to exceed European levels in a few years. “We see that wherever flat-rate mobile data charges are pervasive in a country, there’s much more Net browsing,” Anderson added.

The company identifies users by their country and network of origin.

and the ranking is arrived at by measuring the number of user visits to mobile websites from each country.

Indonesia is the fifth biggest country, representing three per cent of the worldwide users accessing websites through mobile handsets.

Bango said the data also confirms the emergence of the US at the forefront of the mobile Web growth, with a three-fold increase in usage over the last year, though it was still behind the UK at the second position by volume.

”The US is set to become a significant market, and this increased usage of the mobile Web as a means for accessing content is an encouraging signal of future growth,” said Anderson.