The next wave of mobile internet users will be from urban areas of emerging markets, finds Ovum. The lack of fixed internet infrastructure in the region and the significant purchasing power of urban residents are pushing both end users and service providers towards mobile. New research from Ovum highlights the correlation between the growth of the mobile internet and the adoption of "smart" devices in emerging markets.
While the installed base of smartphones accounted for just over 20% in emerging markets at the end of 2012, Ovum estimates that it will reach nearly 50% by 2017, which translates to over 2 billion devices. Ovum's research recommends that mobile network operators (MNOs) embrace the prepaid user base for mobile broadband and also highlight the importance of simplified data access pricing. For content providers, localization of mobile content services is essential. Ovum also recommends that content providers partner with operators for billing support to enable users to spend smaller amounts over a larger period of time.