Here are all of the posts tagged ‘mobile’.

Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide in 2014

by Simon Kemp in News

The astonishing growth of all things digital continues to gather pace around the world, as We Are Social’s new Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide report on the key social, digital and mobile stats from around the world demonstrates.

It should come as little surprise that much of this growth is being fuelled by connected mobile devices, but this year’s data do reveal some interesting trends and anomalies, especially in relation to Japan and Korea.

You’ll find the complete story in the SlideShare deck above, but we’ve pulled out some of the highlights below.


Adding up all the users in individual countries around the world, there appear to be around 2.5 billion global internet users today – roughly 35% of the world’s population:


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While this represents around 150 million more users than this time last year, these numbers may still be conservative. Reliable, recent data for some countries remains patchy, but the International Communications Union estimates that there are probably closer to 3 billion global internet users, with most of the difference made up by mobile-only connections.

Users are still not distributed evenly either, with some parts of the world still struggling to reach double-digit internet penetration. In particular, Africa, Central and Southern Asia all report relatively low numbers, although it’s worth highlighting that mobile internet users may contribute a significant – yet uncounted – increase in these areas.


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With reference to the continued growth in internet penetration, it seems clear that mobile connections will account for the vast majority of new sign-ups in the coming months. As the chart below highlights, the distribution of mobile penetration matches much more closely to the distribution of the world’s population, meaning most people around the world now have a realistic opportunity to access the internet:


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The cost of mobile data clearly remains a barrier in much of the remaining world, but as costs continue to fall, and as the benefits continue to increase, it’s likely we’ll see more and more people in the developing world putting increased importance on reliable internet access.

Social Media
Social channels continued to show strong growth over the past 12 months, with top social networks adding more than 135 million new users in the course of 2013.

This number is slightly misrepresentative of actual growth though, as we’ve decided to focus solely on monthly active user figures to report social media usage in this year’s report. As a result, some numbers may appear lower than they did this time last year (when we used total registered user numbers for some platforms), while the actual growth in active usage may appear smaller than it really was.


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Due to the different usage contexts, associated behaviours and opportunities for brands, we’ve also chosen to treat chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat separately to social networks in this year’s report.

However, these platforms continue to capture significant interest from users and marketers alike, a trend reflected in their huge active user bases:


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It also appears that social media is now an engrained part of the lives of people across different demographic groups. This increased ubiquity may result in some changes to the specific demographic bases of individual platforms, but even if people’s habits are changing, it appears that people are moving from one social platform to another, rather than deserting social media in its entirety.

Despite this increasing ubiquity, though, social media penetration remains unevenly distributed around the world:


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As might be expected, mobile is playing an increasingly important part in the social media landscape. Facebook reports that almost three quarters of its 1.2 billion monthly active users around the world access the platform through mobile, while on any given day, almost half of its users are mobile only.

The importance of mobile is mirrored across other platforms too, with Twitter increasingly a mobile-dominated platform, and platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram depending entirely on a mobile ecosystem.

Given the above, most marketers have now accepted that mobile devices are people’s most important devices, but the opportunities they offer continue to evolve at a staggering pace.

Connected mobile devices have already outpaced more traditional means of internet access such as laptops and PCs, while smartphone sales now outnumber those of feature phones around the world too.

The number of mobile subscriptions jumped by 173 million in 2013, and the number of active mobile subscriptions around the world now equates to roughly 93% of the world’s population.

Penetration rates are more healthy all over the world too, with two-thirds of Africa’s population now mobile powered. Meanwhile, many regions – including those in the developing world – have penetration levels far in excess of 100%:


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Mobile broadband access has exploded around the world in recent months too, and 1.5 billion people now have access to relatively fast internet from their mobile devices:


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A Regional View
While the picture in many Western countries has converged, there are a number of areas around the world that maintain their idiosyncrasies. In particular, China and Eastern Europe continue to prefer local social networks, while Africa, Central and South Asia are considerably under-represented when it comes to internet penetration:

regional data overviews

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The world’s most populous region saw another strong year of growth across all things digital in 2013.

China’s social media giants continue to post strong growth, whether it’s active users on Qzone, or the incredible growth of Weixin (WeChat).

However, both Japan and South Korea have seen some fragmentation of the social media landscape, with chat apps like LINE and Kakaotalk continuing to gain momentum. Neither company releases monthly active user numbers though, so it’s hard to know exactly how these platforms compare to the more traditional networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Interestingly, however, ‘claimed’ usage of social media in both countries differs dramatically from the picture painted by Facebook’s monthly active user numbers, suggesting that Northeast Asia’s netizens may be harnessing a wider variety of platforms.


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Facebook continues to lead Twitter in both countries though, and appears to maintain its top spot almost everywhere.

China and countries in Eastern Europe host the few exceptions to Facebook’s global dominance, with Qzone and VKontakte claiming the top spots in a handful of nations.

However, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, it’s safe to say that Facebook will continue to play a central role in the social media landscape in 2014 too.

The Local Picture
We’ve gone into an extra level of detail in this year’s report too, offering insights into the local digital ecosystem across 24 of the world’s biggest economies:


Alongside offering the key digital indicators, we’ve also collated some key behavioural indicators, including time spent on the internet and on social media, as well as the prevalence of important activities on connected mobile devices.

You’ll find all the facts and figures for each country in the complete 180+ page report on SlideShare (as embedded at the top of this post).

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Social Brands: Go Mobile Or Stand Still

by Simon Kemp in News

Social Brands Part 4: On The Go Is The Way To Go
It’s official: mobile is literally everywhere. Google tells us that more people around the world now own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush, while the UN just revealed that more people have access to mobile phones than toilets.

Here’s how things break down by geography:

we are social - mobile penetration by region feb 2013
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However, despite the cellphone’s ubiquity, a recent WARC study revealed that barely 39% of brand advertisers in APAC consider mobile to be ‘very important’ to their current marketing plans, and a scant 29% actually have a mobile strategy.

So why aren’t marketers’ plans in tune with their audience’s existing behaviour?

The Context
While it’s always difficult to measure these things accurately, data suggest that more people around the world now subscribe to a mobile phone plan than have access to TV.

In other words, it’s highly likely that, around the world, more people now use mobile phones than watch TV:

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That’s a huge shift. Moreover, global cellphone adoption is still growing at a rate of 140 million new subscriptions per quarter.

Of course, many people around the world still rely on more basic ‘feature’ phones, but these devices still provide a level of intimacy that TV can’t match.

What’s more, the shift to internet-connected smartphone devices continues to accelerate with each month that passes, with global mobile data usage currently increasing at close to 30% per quarter:

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Out of Sync
Perhaps more tellingly, people are more emotionally connected to their phones too: as we highlighted in our recent report on the country, 70% of people in China – the world’s largest consumer market – said that they “can’t live without” their cellphones.

People used to say the same of TV, but ironically, many people now use their mobile internet connections to download ‘TV’ content to watch on their mobile phones (sans adverts).

TV clearly still has a vital role to play in the marketing mix of course, and this isn’t about replacing one medium with another. Indeed, mobile has a big part to play in the continuing evolution of TV by enabling and driving phenomena like second screening and transmedia storytelling.

But in a world where brands can reach more of their consumers, more of the time, in more contextually relevant and intimate ways through mobile than through TV, marketers must spend more time – and more of their budgets – exploring how mobile can help them engage audiences and reach their objectives.

If Your Marketing Isn’t Mobile, It Isn’t Going Anywhere
Mobile offers a very different kind of audience experience to TV.

The latter is still largely a communal device; a centre piece that takes pride of place in the heart of our living rooms.

However, mobile is more personal; its primary purpose has always been to connect us with other people, rather than simply delivering passive entertainment.

Critically, people have more control over what they do on their phones.

They decide which activities they participate in, what content they consume, and where and when they do so:

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Indeed, no other device follows us everywhere we go – from the boardroom to the bedroom, and even to the bathroom:

we are social - mobile internet usage locations dec 2012

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My Precious
Because of their size and increasing flexibility, mobiles have also become many people’s most important devices.

To put things in perspective, a recent survey found that 1 in 3 American smartphone owners would even give up sex before giving up their phones.

And with more and more of our activities shifting to mobile devices, this intimacy for mobile seems set to continue.

But, perhaps because of this heightened sense of device intimacy, people don’t welcome interruptions on their phones.

As with so many of today’s big marketing opportunities, interruptive, broadcast approaches simply aren’t the best use of the medium.

Social by Design
Critically, mobile phones started life as truly ‘social media’ – they were always intended to be a means of connecting people.

However, as they’ve evolved from voice-and-text handsets into today’s multi-purpose connected devices, the scope of the social interaction they offer has increased dramatically, to the extent that telephony has dropped way down the list of activities people use their ‘phones’ for.

Meanwhile, the importance of social networking on mobile devices continues to grow.

Smartphone users check Facebook an average of 14 times every day, and American smartphone users spent 40.8 billion minutes on social media mobile apps in July 2012. On an annualised basis, that’s close to 1 million years of human time spent on mobile social activities in the US alone.

Meanwhile, another recent survey from J. D. Power found that, across all age groups, American smartphone users spend an average of almost 2 hours per week using social media apps.

comScore now reckons that 55% of all social media activity in the US takes place on a mobile device.

These trends aren’t unique to the US though, and based on our recent round of SDMW research, mobile’s share of social activities around Asia is likely to be even higher.

More importantly, with the increasing role of mobile instant messaging apps (MIMAs) like WeChat, Line, and Kakaotalk, mobile social’s share of our attention is only set to increase.

Marketing Implications
Mobile doesn’t just offer new opportunities to drive attention and engagement though; it is increasingly becoming a key channel for conversions too:

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Here again, the role of mobile social comes to the fore, with around half of Facebook’s users checking the site while in stores.

As a result, within the next few years, marketing strategies that don’t come to life on mobile devices will never come to life at all.

That shift requires a significant re-evaluation of the way we approach communicating with audiences too.

We won’t be able to rely on interruption anymore, and as we saw in the previous post in this series, marketers will need to get much savvier at adding value instead of finding more efficient ways of distracting people.

Consequently, it’s imperative that marketers explore mobile-social synergies, and build contextual engagement into the core of their engagement strategies.

So how do marketers make better use of mobile apps?

First up, the answer doesn’t have to be about building native apps.

Indeed, even when native apps are available, people don’t always use them; as Mark Zuckerberg revealed recently, “there are actually more people in the world using Facebook on mobile Web” than using the iOS and Android native apps combined.

The real trick is understanding why people use mobile devices – what are the specific wants, needs and desires driving their behaviour?

The best mobile marketing embodies a few simple principles:

  1. Deliver something of value, whether it’s utility, entertainment, or social interaction;
  2. Take advantage of context, using mobile devices’ portability to offer different experiences depending on where and when people engage;
  3. Keep things streamlined, with content that’s easily accessible and suitable across a range of different devices and connection speeds;
  4. Build in device portability, allowing people to continue their experience across phones, tablets and computers if they choose to, especially when sharing things with other people;
  5. Harness layers of detail, allowing people to enjoy a rewarding experience whether they’ve got just 30 seconds on their work break, or 30 minutes on the bus home.

Stay In Touch
Lastly, don’t forget that mobile is still primarily a social channel – a reality that presents a huge opportunity.

Social media experiences will increasingly come to life on the go, and here at We Are Social, we’re already planning on the basis that mobile and social should be seamlessly integrated to provide the best possible social experiences, wherever and whenever the audience wants to engage.

You can catch up on other posts in the Social Brands series here.

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Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of data snapshots for Social, Digital and Mobile usage worldwide, we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for the different regions around the world.

All indicators show significant growth since last year’s worldwide report, with mobile clearly the driving force for all aspects of our connected lives.

Internet penetration adds an extra 3 points year-on-year to reach exactly one third of the world’s population, posting growth of a quarter of a billion new users in the past 12 months.

Much of this growth has come from ‘developing’ nations, with Asia accounting for a significant proportion of the global growth.

Social Media
Social media usage is up by almost the same volume, registering an additional 240 million new users in 2012.

However, in markets like China, the biggest shift we’ve been tracking is a change in usage patterns between different platforms, rather than growth in the absolute number of users of social networks.

Facebook continues to dominate the worldwide picture with close to a billion monthly active users, but Chinese platforms take the remaining 4 of the top 5 slots.

Sina and Tencent’s weibo offerings are clearly the biggest success stories over the past year, growing both their registered and active user bases by hundreds of millions.

Google+ has also made big gains since last year, although its 235 million monthly active users don’t quite give it enough weight to achieve ‘Global Top 5′ status. However, with more than 500 million registered users, it’s clear that Google+ has plenty more potential, and is surely one to watch in 2013.

Twitter continues its stellar growth too, passing 200 million active users a couple of months ago. The West’s favourite microblogging platform also passed the half-billion registered users milestone last year, and its popularity shows little sign of slowing.

Vkontakte continues to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe, with the latest figures suggesting the platform has amassed just shy of 200 million registered users.

Meanwhile, the new breed of ‘Instant Messenger Plus’ platforms like WeChat (Weixin), Line and KakaoTalk look set to change the global social media landscape over the next few months, with Tencent’s WeChat already surpassing 300 million registered users.

The mobile growth story continues to impress, with more than half a billion new subscriptions activated around the world in 2012.

Mobile subscription penetration now exceeds 91% of the world’s population, and although like-for-like data are hard to come by, it seems mobile now reaches at least as many people around the world as television.

The Future
All indicators suggest continued growth throughout 2013 too, so the critical question marketers need to answer now is,

How are we going to integrate all of these opportunities into a consistent and engaging approach that builds real brand value?

The answers to that question will be central to our posts in the coming months here on the We Are Social blog.

Stay tuned…

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Social, Digital and Mobile in China

by Simon Kemp in News

Get ready for some huge numbers, as our latest #SDMW report takes a comprehensive look at all the latest online stats from China.

China has been the world’s largest online market for some time now, but its growth shows no sign of losing momentum.

We’ve explored a wider variety of data than usual in this #SDMW report to give a full flavour of online behaviour and trends across China, so alongside the usual Social, Internet and Mobile stats, you’ll also find some amazing data on e-Commerce, m-Commerce and Location-Based Services.

Here are the headlines:

  • China has 564 million internet users, and the country’s online population continues to grow at a rate of more than 4 million new users every month;
  • There are at least 597 million active Social Media users in China, with Tencent’s QZone continuing to lead, both in terms of registered and active users;
  • More than 1.1 billion mobile subscriptions have been activated in China, and China’s citizens activate 4 new subscriptions every second, driving growth of 10 million new subscriptions every month;
  • Mobile internet continues to dominate in China, with more than 400 million people across the country accessing internet services from their phones.

These staggering numbers give a sense of the scale of the online environment in China, but it’s only when we put the numbers in perspective that they start to have meaning.

China’s Population
A large part of China’s appeal to digital marketers lies in the sheer size of its population: if you took just 1 second to say hello to each of the country’s 1.34 billion people, it would take you more than 42 years to greet the whole nation.

The population is still growing too, albeit not as fast of some of its Asian neighbours.

China’s citizens are also slightly older than their Asian neighbours, with the media age of the population sitting in the mid 30s.

The Internet In China
China’s internet users outnumber the entire population of Western Europe, and continue to grow at a rate of 1.6 new users every second.

Much of the new growth is being driven by people from rural areas accessing online services for the first time via their mobile phones.

China now accounts for 51% of Asia’s internet users, and at 42%, online penetration in the country is well above the regional average of 29%:


Mobile is the primary internet access device for everyone in China, with 75% of the online population using their mobile phone for at least some of their internet activities.

China’s netizens spend an average of 3 hours per day online across all devices, with the most popular activities including:

  • Instant Messaging (88%);
  • Web Search (80%);
  • Online Music (77%).

Online finance activities like internet banking and e-transactions lead the fastest-growing internet activities, and more than 220 million Chinese people now use these services in some form.

Social Media
Social Media continue to be the hottest internet story in China, with active users numbers fast approaching 600 million – almost twice the total population of the USA.

China’s social media users spend an average of 46 minutes every single day accessing social media sites; added together, this means social media users spent at least 167 billion hours – some 19 million years of human time – on social media activities in 2012.

The country’s social media landscape is dominated by platforms operated by homegrown internet company Tencent.

Counting users on its Qzone, Tencent Weibo and Pengyou site, Tencent claims to host around 56% of the country’s active social media accounts, and QZone is home to at least half of Asia’s total social media population:


Weibo have been a real Chinese Social Media success story in recent months, and with more than half a billion registered users on Tencent’s Weibo service, it’s perhaps little surprise that weibo have garnered so much media attention both with China and abroad.

Moreover, 89% of China’s netizens have used a weibo at some time or other.

Active user numbers are a slightly different story though, with Sina’s Weibo service leads the weibo ctagory with almost 300 million active users:

The impressive growth of weibo were eclipsed in late 2012 though, with the explosion of one-to-one messaging services led by Tencent’s WeChat service.

With user numbers already in excess of 300 million, WeChat combines the convenience and intimacy of a messaging platform like WhatsApp and microblog-like ‘public posting’ features similar to those of weibo and Twitter.

WeChat is currently growing at a phenomenal rate, adding around 25 million users per month, the majority of whom are in China. Analysts are confident WeChat will add at least another 100 million new users in 2013.

More conventional instant messaging services continue to be ubiquitous in China too, with the country’s top platforms claiming more than 1.2 billion accounts. Tencent’s QQ service alone claims nearly 800 million users accounts.

In August 2012, 167 million of QQ’s accounts were online at the same time, setting a new record for the number of simultaneous users of the service. That’s more than the entire population of Russia.

Given all of this, the commercial opportunities offered by social media in China are clear, and extend well beyond the simple user numbers.

Two thirds of China’s social media users interact with brands in some way through social sites, and engage with an average of 8 brands each.

80% of the country’s social media users say they use these sites to search for information about products and brands, and almost 4 in 10 actively refer to their friends’ social media activities when making purchase decisions.

Social media use is also spread across age groups:

28% of weibo users actively search for brand information in weibo, and 50% of all weibo users claim to visit e-Commerce sites after noticing relevant information in weibo posts.

These numbers have inspired nearly a quarter of a million companies to set up a Sina Weibo account, and 25% of Fortune 500 companies – primarily companies based in the West – have a presence on China’s most active weibo platform.

72% of Sina Weibo’s users access the site via mobile devices, meaning the service’s contextual relevance has particular significance during active purchase occasions.

This contextual relevance extends to messaging apps too, and Tencent logs more than 700 million location-specific activities ever day via its QQ and WeChat services – that’s more than 8,000 every second.

Professional Social Networking is also on the rise in China, with more than 70 million people now using dedicated platforms to build their business networks:

The largest professional social network, Tianji, is growing at a rate of around half a million users every month, while LinkedIn has enjoyed some success in China too.

China’s mobile market continues to expand at an astounding rate, with 4 new subscriptions every second driving growth of more than 10 million new subscriptions every month.

Phones have become an integral part of Chinese citizens’ lives, with 70% claiming that they “can’t live without” their phone.

This may be due to the impressive functionality available on even relatively basic handsets in China:


It’s the mobile internet opportunities that we find most exciting though, and at 420 million users, penetration of mobile internet in China has already passed 30%.

China’s mobile internet browsers enjoy a variety of online activities from their handsets:

  • News (62%);
  • Web Search (46%);
  • e-Books (44%);
  • Weibo and Microblogs (41%)

The popularity of eBooks is of particular note; reading literature via mobile devices is hugely popular in China, and searches for eBooks topped the 2012 mobile search query rankings on China’s top search engine, Baidu.

China’s mobile users are still skewed towards younger age groups though, and 62% of the country’s subscribers are under 30:

You’ll find plenty more invaluable stats in the full report – here are some more highlights:

  • China’s e-Commerce market was worth more than 1 trillion RMB in 2012 (more than US$160 billion);
  • Location-Based Services reach 217 million people in China;
  • There are 350 million visitors to online video sites in China, who watch a combined total of more than 4 billion hours of online video every month.

If you’d like to know more about this report, please contact us by email, or call Simon Kemp on +65 9146 5356.

We’d also love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions via the comments section below.

Meanwhile, you can download a high-res PDF of the full report here.

Please note that you’ll find the relevant source for each of the individual stats in this post, and for each of the data points in the report, at the bottom right-hand corner of the relevant slide(s) in the full report.

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Social, Digital and Mobile in Pakistan

by Simon Kemp in News

Just like our last SDMW feature country, Bangladesh, Pakistan is a member of the 100 million club.

The online environment in Pakistan is changing rapidly, as a quick comparison between today’s report and our first edition from December 2011 will testify.

The key headlines from this second edition are as follows:

  • Pakistan has almost 30 million internet users, although penetration remains low at just 15%;
  • Social Media use has grown by almost 50% since our last report, passing 8 million monthly users in the past couple of weeks;
  • Mobile continues to grow quickly, with the country’s telcos adding more than 1 million new subscriptions each month in 2012.

As ever with our SDMW reports though, it’s the more focused details that tell the best stories.

With more than two thirds of Pakistan’s 190 million inhabitants below the age of 30, it’s clear that the nation benefits from a young and dynamic population.

Furthermore, despite financial challenges – the average income in Pakistan is less than $3,000 per year – Pakistanis are embracing connected devices and the content that they offer.

Interestingly, 80% of Pakistan’s netizens spend more than one hour each day on the internet, although the average ‘internet session’ lasts just 5 minutes, suggesting that Pakistanis go online multiple times each day for short ‘browsing snacks’.

The majority of netizens use laptops to access the internet, although 30% of internet users go online via a mobile phone – perhaps unsurprising given that more than 100 million mobile subscriptions have been activated in Pakistan to date.

Mobile penetration still remains relatively low however, at just over 60% – well below Asia’s regional average of 82%.

Social media penetration also remains acutely low, with barely 4% of the country’s population using Facebook, even though the site appears to maintain its position as the most popular social network in the country.

Social media remains a largely male preserve too, with men accounting for almost 70% of the country’s social media users.

However, Facebook is adding new users in Pakistan at a rate of one every 12 seconds, and 28% of social media users make use of 2 or more platforms, suggesting plenty of potential for growth in social media use in the country during 2013.

Crucially for marketers, two thirds of the country’s Facebook users are below the age of 25, and more than half of them come from the country’s richest 10% of households, resulting in a highly concentrated social media audience of young, affluent consumers.

Nearly three quarters of these users log in to Facebook daily too, and spend an average of 40 minutes on the site each day, mostly between 6pm and midnight.

Twitter users hover around the 2 million mark, although some estimates put Pakistan’s Twitter population closer to 3 million. Google+ also appears to have a certain popularity in Pakistan, although exact user numbers are harder to come by.

As with many countries around Asia though, the real excitement lies in mobile. Someone takes out a new mobile subscription every 2 seconds in Pakistan, resulting in growth of 46,500 new subscriptions every day.

Despite this impressive growth, however, mobile internet usage remains sparse, and just 15 million people in the country access internet services via mobile, even though the government reports that 64% of the population has the potential to access mobile internet services.

Of those who already access the internet via mobile, 75% do so via Symbian-powered devices, and most people in Pakistan continue to rely on feature phones.

Lack of 3G coverage may play a role in the slow uptake of mobile internet, and extending the coverage of these faster networks beyond today’s paltry 0.4% of the population would likely boost the country’s online connectivity.

These numbers all point to significant opportunities for growth though, so Pakistan is certainly another one to watch for 2013.

The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can download a high-res PDF of this report here.

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