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Developing countries and the ‘Mobile Revolution’

By Karsh Hagan | 

Developing countries and the ‘Mobile Revolution’

Mobile technology has been going through what some have dubbed the ‘Mobile Revolution,’ and it just turned on its after-burners.

The United Nations Broadband Commission (UNBC) published its annual report, which preaches about the mighty growth of mobile across the globe.

The UNBC reports that mobile Internet subscriptions have increased nearly tenfold over the last six years, from 268 million in 2007 to 2.1 billion in 2013. The number of mobile subscriptions is predicted to surpass 7 billion and overtake the total world population in 2014. Today, there are nearly 9 billion connected devices, which could potentially reach a trillion connected devices by 2025.

Fixed Broadband and Mobile Subscriptions, 2009-2018

Fixed Broadband and Mobile Subscriptions, 2009-2018

This explosion of mobile technology is surprisingly concentrated around developing countries do to the catalyst known as the “leapfrog effect”—the recent shift in consumer habit where a new Internet user is first exposed to the Internet through a mobile device, rather than a personal computer. Telecommunication companies’ mobile technology is now ‘leapfrogging’ over costly fixed-line broadband to develop stronger wireless broadband access.

The biggest, and perhaps most exciting, growth is being experienced in Africa. AfricaThe continent “has become the world’s second most connected region by mobile subscriptions and has witnessed the fastest growth in mobile subscribers in the world,” according to research done by Informa Telecoms and Media. In two years, mobile subscriptions in Africa are expected to surpass 1 billion. If we look south to Latin America, smartphone use grew by almost 50% in 2013 and is projected to remain in double digit growth until 2017.

For advertisers, the question is how to properly address these developing regions and create meaningful impressions in an entirely new way that the ‘leapfrogger’ would understand and the tradition user would embrace. There is definitely room for improvement on mobile websites too, according to a Prosper Insights report, roughly a third of mobile websites are “very good.” While balancing the concinnity of platforms has always been important, mobile may soon become the weighted king.

Written by Myles Rigg, Account Service Intern

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