Across Asia, about 58 percent of people still do not use the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union. It you exclude China, Japan and Korea, plus the city-states of Singapore and island of Taiwan, the percentage of Internet non-users can, in some cases, range upwards of 76 percent.
And 90 percent of those in Asia who do use the Internet do so using mobile devices and networks.
As I mentioned during a recent keynote address for Telegration business partners (a U.S.-based sales organization focusing on enterprise and mid-market customers), when conducting analyses of Internet adoption on a global basis, one can essentially ignore all fixed network access, look only at mobile Internet access, and still get the trend right, and the magnitudes of usage about right.
Except for about 10.5 percent of Internet users in Asia, for example, who do get access using a fixed network, substantially all the rest of the Internet users do so using mobile networks.
And even that statistic is skewed by large numbers of fixed network users in places such as China, Japan and Korea (with additional users in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong).
That is not to say other access methods will not emerge, but it is hard to ignore the fact that nearly 90 percent of Internet access in Asia now is provided by mobile networks.
Rural coverage, language relevance, device prices and recurring access costs all are issues. Still, mobile has to be reckoned the primary delivery vehicle.
As the 80/20 rule suggests, “20 percent of activities produce 80 percent of the results.” For Internet access, the practical application is that only mobile really matters, where it comes to consumer Internet access.
Still, Asia is home for nearly half of the world’s Internet population. At 1.24 billion users, 46 percent of the world’s Internet users live in Asia, according to Geonet.
In Thailand, which introduced 3G networks not so long ago, Internet usage has skyrocketed. And virtually all of those gains are because people use mobile devices for Internet access.