The Stars Are Aligning for the Mobile Internet

To say there’s a lot going on with mobile right now is to state something more than obvious. The carriers, the handset makers and the mobile content providers are in what amounts to a frenzy of competition and business development as they try and position themselves for what they see as the next really big opportunity: the mobile Internet.

Two articles that simultaneously appeared in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) yesterday capture this mood and activity. The first article, “Companies Vie For Ad Dollars On Mobile Web,” was a broad survey of the state of the mobile marketplace and wireless advertising.

The article cites research firm M:Metrics for the statistic that only 15% of mobile users access Internet content on their phones. Earlier this week comScore said the number is 17%.

These figures at first blush appear to be relatively small, but when you step back they grow larger. Consider that there are more than 2.5 billion wireless phones in use around the world today. Just over 200 million of those phones reside in the U.S. So what’s 15% or 17% of 200 million? The answer is: between 30 and 34 million mobile Internet users.

These are the relatively early adopters who suffer with rendering problems, awkward interfaces and painful keypad-based entry systems. Given those challenges, 34 million is already significant — even impressive — usage and it’s only going to grow. The questions are how fast and how will it be monetized?

Read the rest of this post at SEL.

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